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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Racial Justice

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice will present arguments in federal court on Monday, July 7, asking that North Carolina's voter suppression law be placed on hold for the 2014 midterm elections.

"The bottom line is that North Carolinians should be able to vote in the November election without having to navigate the obstacles imposed by this discriminatory law," said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

The ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice challenged the law last August, but the case is not expected to reach trial until summer 2015. The groups filed a preliminary injunction motion in May to block key portions of the law from being in effect prior to the trial.


RALEIGH – After obtaining and analyzing thousands of documents from police departments around the country, today the American Civil Liberties Union released the report War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. The ACLU focused on more than 800 SWAT raids conducted by law enforcement agencies in 20 states, including North Carolina, and on the agencies’ acquisition of military weaponry, vehicles, and equipment.

“We found that police overwhelmingly use SWAT raids not for extreme emergencies like hostage situations but to carry out such basic police work as serving warrants or searching for a small amount of drugs,” said Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel with the ACLU’s Center for Justice. ”Carried out by ten or more officers armed with assault rifles, flashbang grenades, and battering rams, these paramilitary raids disproportionately impacted people of color, sending the clear message that the families being raided are the enemy. This unnecessary violence causes property damage, injury, and death.”

The majority (79 percent) of deployments the ACLU studied were for the purpose of executing a search warrant, most commonly in drug investigations. Only 7 percent were for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios. The report documents multiple tragedies caused by police carrying out needless SWAT raids, including a 26-year-old mother shot with her child in her arms and a 19-month-old baby critically injured when a flashbang grenade landed in his crib.


by Raul Pinto, Staff Attorney, ACLU-NCLF

Anyone who has ever been stopped by police officers on a state road can attest that it can be an unnerving experience.   The unsettling nature of a stop can be exacerbated if the driver believes that the officer’s biases played a role in the officer’s decision-making process.  Racial biases, conscious or unconscious, can be the most damaging because they create a perception that people are treated differently in the eyes of the law in violation of their civil rights.

The term “racially biased policing” was coined to cover overt discriminatory treatment of minorities, as well as subconscious biases that may affect police decision-making.  In 1999, North Carolina was at the forefront of recording data to prove or disprove whether minorities are stopped and searched at disproportionate rates by enacting a law requiring police to record demographic information about detained drivers.  Other states also adopted data collection as a tool to diagnose whether racially biased policing is a problem in their communities.  However, in North Carolina, recent analysis of the data collected as a result of the law gives cause for concern.


RALEIGH – The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday filed a motion for summary judgment in its civil rights lawsuit against the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ASCO) in which it asks a federal court to rule quickly in order to stop “ACSO’s unlawful discrimination” against Latino residents.

The motion for summary judgment expounds on the Justice Department’s previous claims that ACSO, under the direction of Sheriff Terry Johnson, fosters a culture of anti-Latino bias among its deputies, including alleged use of racial slurs, disproportionate traffic stops and arrests, and examples including “an ACSO captain sending his subordinates a video game premised on shooting Mexican children, pregnant women, and other ‘wetbacks.’”

“The abhorrent and unconstitutional practices outlined in this motion should not be tolerated in our state and cannot be allowed to continue,” said Raul Pinto, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) Legal Foundation. “After receiving similar complaints about the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office for years, we continue to urge Sheriff Johnson and his department to immediately cease their discriminatory practices and comply with the U.S. Justice Department’s requests at once. All residents of Alamance County deserve fair and equal treatment from their law enforcement officers.”