Blog of Rights

Eight Police Officers Fired 46 Times at My Mentally Ill Son for Holding a Pen Knife

Eight Police Officers Fired 46 Times at My Mentally Ill Son for Holding a Pen Knife

By Jewel Hall at 5:05pm
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Jewel Hall conducted by the ACLU of Michigan about the killing in 2012 of her son Milton by eight police officers. Parts of her interview appear in the video below, which also includes footage of the police killing Milton. Today the ACLU of Michigan is presenting this video at a hearing about racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States. The county prosecutor declined to bring charges against the officers involved, and earlier this year, the Department of Justice also declined to bring charges against them. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
closeup of camera lens

Body-Worn Cameras Should Not Expand Beyond Law Enforcement

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:34pm

The Guardian reported last week that Miami Beach is planning on expanding the use of body cameras beyond the police to include “meter maids,” code enforcement officers, and building and fire inspectors. This use of the technology does not make…

An MRAP Is Not a Blanket

An MRAP Is Not a Blanket

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:41pm

This August, Americans watched in horror as the police descended on peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, as though they were going into battle. In May, a toddler named Bou Bou Phonesavanh had his chest ripped open and his face torn off by a flashbang…

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 1:27pm

At gunpoint, two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old robbed a dozen other teenagers at a house party, taking money, phones, and marijuana. No shots were fired, but one of the 18-year-olds struck someone with the butt of his gun.

The crime is unquestionably…

Private Prisons Are the Problem, Not the Solution

Private Prisons Are the Problem, Not the Solution

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project at 4:38pm

For the past two years, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center have been investigating and exposing a horrifying pattern of abuse against juveniles and the mentally ill in two Mississippi prisons operated by the GEO Group, one of the biggest…

 A Living Nightmare in America's Paradise

A Living Nightmare in America's Paradise

By Eric Balaban, ACLU National Prison Project at 3:12pm

Imagine being charged with a crime, going to trial, being found not guilty by reason of insanity, but remaining behind bars for years. You are denied access to a psychiatrist to treat your serious mental illness; you grow more acutely ill; and you…

Strip Search of 13-Year-Old for Ibuprofen Ruled Unconstitutional

By Jag Davies, Drug Law Reform Project at 10:02am

If you have a problem with school officials strip searching 13-year-olds for Advil — or if you care about the government’s standards for informant use and invasive searches — you can take relief in yesterday's ruling by a full panel…

Photo of police officer speaking to civilian

Should Officers Be Permitted to View Body Camera Footage Before Writing Their Reports?

By Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices for the ACLU of Southern California & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:14pm

Update below

A police officer wearing a body camera shoots a civilian. Afterwards, the officer has to write up a report about the incident. Should the officer be able to view the footage captured by his body camera (or other cameras) before…

The DEA’s "Cold Consent" Encounters: Definitely Cold, Not So Consensual

The DEA’s "Cold Consent" Encounters: Definitely Cold, Not So Consensual

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:25pm

When law enforcement officers stop and question people for no particular reason, or in the case of the Drug Enforcement Administration, based on a vague perception that a person exhibits "characteristics indicative of drug trafficking," is it any wonder…

Easy Money: Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse by Police

By Chloe Cockburn, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 1:16pm

On November 18, 2009, Shukree Simmons, who is African-American, was driving with his business partner on the highway from Macon, Georgia, back to Atlanta after selling his cherished Chevy Silverado truck to a restaurant owner in Macon for $3,700…