*NEW YORK - American Civil Liberties (ACLU) Executive Director Anthony D. Romero today released the following statement on the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman:
“Today, our thoughts are with Tracy and Sybrina Martin, whose young son was taken from them far too soon.
“Last night’s verdict casts serious doubt on whether the legal system truly provides equal protection of the laws to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity.
“This case reminds us that it is imperative that the Department of Justice thoroughly examine whether the Martin shooting was a federal civil rights violation or hate crime. We call on Attorney General Eric Holder to release strengthened guidance on the use of race in federal law enforcement.
“We also urge Congress to pass the End Racial Profiling Act. These specific actions would go a long way to ameliorate the widespread problem of racial profiling. We need solutions not only in Trayvon Martin’s case, but also systemic reform.”
*Remember back in March when we told you about Florida’s governor Rick Scott (R), preparing to require any potential welfare recipient to first pay a $35 fee for a drug test before they could be eligible?
Well, the law went into effect in July, but now a judge has put the smacketh down and stopped the enforcement of the new requirement…at least for now. (more…)
*(Journal & Times) One of the nation’s leading fighters for Constitutional rights last week (Thursday) filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia challenging the use of so-called “stop and frisk” searches by the city’s police department.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the searches are violating the rights of Blacks and Latinos who have done nothing wrong.
City data obtained by the ACLU shows that in 2009, a whopping 253,000 pedestrians were subjected to “stop and frisk” searches. Only 8.4 percent of the searches resulted in an arrest but over 70 percent of those searched were African Americans. The bulk of the remainder was Hispanics.
Ironically, the alleged discrimination against minorities is being carried out by a city with both a Black Mayor Michael Nutter and a Black Chief Charles Ramsey. Nutter has been subjected for month to widespread booing when he attends predominantly Black events and Ramsey was the former police chief in Washington, D.C. where he instituted several anti-crime policies which were controversial or resulted in lawsuits.
From the perspective of the two men, however; Philadelphia had experienced a crime surge in recent years and the “stop and frisk” policy was part of Nutter’s 2007 mayoral campaign.
A court decision in the case will likely have an impact in other cities around the nation which have adopted similar policies. In New York City, for example, official records show that 85 percent of the people subjected to “stop and frisk” are either Black of Hispanic.
Constitutionally, the ACLU is arguing that a citizen is not supposed to be subjected to a police stop and frisk unless there is “probable cause:” to believe that he or she has committed a crime. The searches in Philadelphia, however, are done pretty much at random.
*ACLU Nebraska cautioned state school districts Wednesday against inviting speakers who proselytize to students under the guise of messages against drugs and alcohol.
In letters sent to school superintendents, ACLU Nebraska legal director Amy Miller said there have been complaints from parents across the state about Christian messages delivered during student assemblies.
“Some complaints have described the revival-show atmosphere that happens in the school gym, complete with music and the speaker asking all students who now will accept Jesus Christ’s narrow path to come down front with him,” Miller said in a statement.
Miller’s letter singled out two speakers: Keith Becker of the Kearney-based Todd Becker Foundation and Ron Brown, an assistant football coach at Nebraska who helped found Mission Nebraska.
“Both men have made it perfectly clear: They intend to convert children to their own religious beliefs while the students are in a school away from their parents’ guidance,” the letter states.
*Schools in the Florida school district of Santa Rosa are fed up over the religious orders handed to them by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the executive decision of the district.
It’s as though the school district made a pact with the devil to keep a strict order of religious protection out of the school. The district paid the ACLU $200,000 to keep an order of religious sanctions over the district.
The instances that have been thwarted by the order are so ridiculous it is clear why they are being sued. (more…)