NEW YORK (PIX11) — Attorneys from the Legal Aid Society rallied outside the New York City Department of Investigation on Monday and called for the results of an audit of the NYPD gang database to be released.

CUNY Law Professor Babe Howell explained the NYPD gang database is “a database with at least 20,000 and possibly, 40, 50, 60,000 people who are designated as gang members.”

Howell joined the rally, expressing her concern about how the NYPD decides who should be listed in the gang database.

“If they can check off two or three boxes, seen with people that they say are gang members, seen in a known gang location, wearing tattoos, clothing colors which is every color of the rainbow,” Howell explained about how police make their decisions.

Legal Aid Society attorneys have called the database unconstitutional, saying it unfairly targets young New Yorkers of color. 

The Department of Investigation launched an audit into the gang database in 2018. Howell called for the audit results to be released soon. 

In a statement, the NYPD told PIX11 News “calls to abolish the NYPD’s Criminal Group Database are misguided. An unfortunate pattern emerges each year with shootings in New York City and that is that a significant portion of those shootings have a nexus to gang activity where either the shooter or the victim is a member of a gang. In order to effectively combat gang violence, the police need to understand the size of these criminal groups, their scope, who its members are, and the crimes they have committed.”

Mayor Eric Adams also weighed in at an unreleated event.

“Those who are in violent gangs do not go around saying, ‘Yes, I do shootings and yes, I’m in a gang.'” Adams said. “So we have to use the right analysis that we do not unfairly target people, but we have to be honest about those who are participating in illegal gang behaviors, which is generating a lot of our shootings.”