A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: subway

The Ghost of Public Records

By Alex Noble

Let’s face it – we’ve all done things we’re not proud of. But what happens when your past follows you everywhere, because it is a matter of public record? That’s what’s happening to Yasmin Rahman, a 27 year-old New Yorker who says that as a consequence of trying to commit suicide 12 years ago, today she can’t land a job.

Yasmin Rahman was 15 years old when she tried to kill herself by jumping from a crowded subway platform in front of an oncoming train. The NYPD saved her life that day – they rescued her from the tracks and she spent six months recovering in the hospital. She learned to cope with her mental health issues, finished high school, enrolled in and completed college —  and says that 39 employers have refused to hire her because they found detailed reports of her suicide attempt when they searched her name in the public records.

If you ask Ms. Rahman, this is unfair. And since she can’t erase the past, she has settled on the next best thing – filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the NYPD for releasing her information to the public in the first place. Yes, this is the very same department whose officers saved her life. And yes, Ms. Rahman is suing for invasion of privacy though she tried to kill herself in one of the most public ways imaginable.

But before you gather a posse with torches and pitchforks, remember that Ms. Rahman was a minor at the time, and that a person’s mental illness is a personal and very confidential matter.

Several media outlets have reported the facts behind Rahman’s lawsuit, but only LASIS explores the merits of her claim.

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