October 12, 2016

David Diaz, a custodian at a synagogue in the Bronx, lives with members of his family in an apartment near the Bronx Zoo. The NYPD raided the apartment in 2013, entering with guns drawn, and indiscriminately arrested every person present (with the exception of David’s infant daughter and his teenage niece). The police found a small amount of drugs during the search—drugs that David had no idea were in the apartment—but did not charge anyone with a crime.

Months later, the police returned to inform David that his apartment had been ordered closed under the city’s no-fault eviction ordinance. Based on the earlier raid, as well as statements by unnamed confidential informants, the city claimed the apartment had been the site of drug offenses. But the city did not name or otherwise identify the alleged criminal.

To settle the case, the city demanded that David agree to permanently bar from even visiting the apartment every person who was arrested the day of the raid and not listed as a tenant on the lease. David does not understand why he should have to close his home to his brothers, whom he relies on for babysitting while he is at work. David is certain his brothers had nothing to do with any contraband, and the city has never suggested otherwise. Nonetheless, facing eviction, David had no choice but to agree.