Blog of Rights

Monica Jones at a press conference

Arrested for Walking While Trans: An Interview with Monica Jones

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 11:19am
In Phoenix, Arizona, you can be arrested for repeatedly stopping and engaging a passerby in conversation. This may, under Phoenix law, be evidence that you are "manifesting" an intent to engage in prostitution. Of course, this could also be evidence that you are lost or canvassing for a political group or simply talking about the weather. The difference between "innocent" and "criminal" behavior often comes down to how a person looks. Transgender women of color are often profiled by police as engaging in sex work for simply being outside and going about their daily routines. Amnesty International documented this disproportionate targeting by police of transgender women as sex workers in a 2005 report. "[S]ubjective and prejudiced perceptions of transgender women as sex workers often play a significant role in officers' decisions to stop and arrest transgender women," the report concluded. One woman told Amnesty, "'No tenemos el derecho a vivir.' (We don't have the right to live.)."
Photo: EditorB/Flickr

Police Brutality and Deaf People

By Talila A. Lewis, Founder, HEARD at 1:13pm

Robert Kim, Pearl Pearson, Jonathan Meister...

These are the most recent additions to the long list of deaf people who have been brutally assaulted by police officers for what has been described by officers as failure to respond to officers'…

Accountability vs. Privacy: The ACLU’s Recommendations on Police Body Cameras

Accountability vs. Privacy: The ACLU’s Recommendations on Police Body Cameras

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:00am

Today we’re releasing our policy recommendations on police “body cameras” (also called “on-officer recording systems” or “cop cams”), small cameras that clip on to an officer’s uniform and record audio and video of the officer’s interactions…

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:11pm

This piece was originally published on The Crime Report.

The militarized law enforcement response to peaceful protests over the killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. last month, has prompted several federal officials to question…

The Reality of Federal Drug Sentencing

The Reality of Federal Drug Sentencing

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:53pm

Federal drug laws create a labeling problem. When you hear the term “drug trafficker,” you might think of Pablo Escobar or Walter White, but the reality is that under federal law, drug traffickers include people who buy pseudoephedrine…

How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

By Meghan Groob, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:19pm

Here's a hypothetical for you: Someone approaches you on the street and offers you a big stack of cash with no strings attached. Do you take it?

Of course you do.

As much as we'd like to pretend otherwise, money matters. And that's…

Settlement Means No More Highway Robbery in Tenaha, Texas

Settlement Means No More Highway Robbery in Tenaha, Texas

By Elora Mukherjee, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 11:22am

On Friday, the ACLU settled a class action lawsuit, pending court approval, against officials in the East Texas town of Tenaha and Shelby County over the rampant practice of stopping and searching drivers, almost always Black or Latino, and often seizing…

In Florida, High School Student Kiera Wilmot’s Curiosity Is a Crime?!

In Florida, High School Student Kiera Wilmot’s Curiosity Is a Crime?!

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:47pm

Fed up with the school-to-prison pipeline? Take action!

Earlier this week, the well-oiled school-to-prison pipeline once again moved swiftly and fiercely to criminalize kids. This time, the pipeline delivered 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot to the…

Photo of police standing with batons

Police Need to Make Body-Camera Policies Transparent

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:00pm

Body cameras are a hot topic these days in the wake of the Ferguson and Eric Garner controversies, as well as President Obama’s announcement that he will seek $75 million in funding for police body cameras and training. Body cameras are an important…

Safer Communities and Fewer People Behind Bars

Safer Communities and Fewer People Behind Bars

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 3:49pm

Before he started singing with muppets, John Oliver showed us a lot of boxes of Cheerios. This was in the second minute of his epic rant on the state of the U.S. criminal justice system last week.

Varieties of Cheerios – from "Frosted" to…