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.)."
Ferguson is Everytown, U.S.A.

Ferguson is Everytown, U.S.A.

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 5:07pm

The tragic killing of college-bound teenager Michael Brown has raised questions about the frequency with which police kill unarmed black men in America. The answer, unfortunately, is far too often.

Just three months ago, on a warm April afternoon,…

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…

Black and Blue: The All-Too-Often Toxic Relationship Between Communities of Color and Law Enforcement

Black and Blue: The All-Too-Often Toxic Relationship Between Communities of Color and Law Enforcement

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 9:12am

Twenty-five years ago, Director Spike Lee released the film "Do the Right Thing" which illustrated with startling realism the racial tensions and uneasy relationship between police and the communities of color in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.…

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…

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…

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…

A Lesson From Ferguson: Driving While Black Leads to Jailed for Being Poor

A Lesson From Ferguson: Driving While Black Leads to Jailed for Being Poor

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:24pm

The tragic killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August has brought much needed attention to the epidemic of racialized policing in America. In Ferguson and cities throughout the country, police stop, search, and arrest black…

Cop Assaults Elementary School Student

Cop Assaults Elementary School Student

By Seema Sadanandan, Organizer, ACLU of the Nation's Capital at 1:43pm

When Officer David Bailey grabbed a 10-year-old student by the back of his head and slammed it into the school cafeteria table, it is safe to say that student was not free to leave. On that afternoon, Bailey decided that his routine beat on the streets…

Poor People Have Rights Too

Poor People Have Rights Too

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 4:05pm

Drug-testing those applying for public assistance is unconstitutional, shortsighted and will end up costing states more than any possible savings.