Blog of Rights

Larry
Schwartztol
Cop Breaks a Kid's Arm and Tasers Him. His Offense? Saggy Pants.

Cop Breaks a Kid's Arm and Tasers Him. His Offense? Saggy Pants.

By Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 5:13pm
Derby, Kansas, high school sophomore Jonathan Villarreal was walking to the bus after school when a police officer ordered him to pull his pants up above his hips. Jonathan refused, on the grounds that the school day was over. As reported in the Wichita Eagle, here’s what happened next:

Surveillance Gone Amok

By Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:29pm

In pushing for ever-expanding and unaccountable surveillance authority, the Bush Administration has assured the public that it aims its spying capabilities at serious security threats. But as two government whistleblowers recently revealed to ABC News, surveillance programs touted as critical to protect national security have in fact been used to monitor the private communications of innocent Americans abroad, including humanitarian workers and U.S. service-members. While disturbing, ABC's report confirms a core contention of the ACLU's lawsuit challenging Congress's recent expansion of governmental spying powers: unchecked surveillance authority invades the privacy of innocent Americans, and in doing so, fundamentally undermines the efforts of human rights workers, journalists, and attorneys doing important work around the globe.

Two former military intercept operators — the people who actually intercept, monitor, and collect international telephone and email communications — told ABC News that "hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home." The operators worked for the National Security Agency ("NSA"), the spy agency chiefly responsible for international surveillance. They report that NSA routinely listened in on the innocent, and sometimes intimate, conversations of Americans abroad. There were apparently no effective procedures in place to filter out these kinds of communications.

Predatory Lending: Wall Street Profited, Minority Families Paid the Price

By Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:35pm

The editorial page of the New York Times recently weighed in on an important but underappreciated aspect of the financial crisis: The systematic targeting of communities of color for risky and unfair loans. As the Times put it:

Pricing discrimination…
An important step towards holding Wall Street accountable

An important step towards holding Wall Street accountable

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 5:14pm

In a historic ruling, today a judge gave us the green light to move forward with a case alleging that Morgan Stanley discriminated against black homeowners in the Detroit area in violation of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA").

"Morgan Stanley—as…

Holding Wall Street Accountable: ACLU Sues Morgan Stanley for Discriminatory Practices

Holding Wall Street Accountable: ACLU Sues Morgan Stanley for Discriminatory Practices

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 11:18am

The economic crisis of 2008, which was devastating for the nation’s economy as a whole, was nothing short of disastrous for communities of color. Much of the decades of progress toward full inclusion in the American dream which was ushered…

Wiretapping Excesses: A Tale Foretold

By Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:29pm

(Originally posted on the ACSBlog.)

Last week the New York Times broke a story that came as no surprise: when armed with expansive dragnet surveillance authority that lacks meaningful safeguards, the government will intercept huge numbers…

The Economic Crisis Isn't Colorblind

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Larry Schwartztol, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 9:51am

As the presidential election season heats up, the candidates will clash over how the country should climb back from the 2008 economic slump.

Statistics image