Blog of Rights

How Many People Must Be Maimed or Killed Before We End the Militarization of Our Police Forces?

How Many People Must Be Maimed or Killed Before We End the Militarization of Our Police Forces?

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:59pm
Yesterday, a grand jury in Habersham County, Georgia, decided not to bring charges against the police officers who threw a flashbang grenade into the crib of Bounkham Phonesavanh, known affectionately as "Baby Bou Bou." The explosion left a hole in the then-19-month-old's chest, exposing his rib, and almost ripped his nose from his face.
Spotted on Campus: Up-Armored Mine-Resistant Monster Trucks

Spotted on Campus: Up-Armored Mine-Resistant Monster Trucks

By Samuel Weiss at 1:05pm

With the cost of tuition skyrocketing, you may be wondering why universities are getting mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles – or MRAPs ­– which are designed for the battlefield and cost $700,000.

The answer is simple: They don't…

For One Young Black Man in Newark, 'The Talk' was about Police

For One Young Black Man in Newark, 'The Talk' was about Police

By Michael Hobbs at 3:37pm

This piece was originally published on NJ.com.

When I was 14, my grandfather sat me down for "the talk" – not the birds and the bees, but "the billy clubs and the bullets."

I brushed him off. I thought that in my majority-black hometown…

Three Years in a Cage. No Charges and No Lawyer.

Three Years in a Cage. No Charges and No Lawyer.

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:01pm

Octavious Burks has been waiting for 10 months.

He's locked in a jail in Scott County, Mississippi. He hasn't been formally charged. He hasn't been assigned an attorney.

This is a recurring nightmare for Octavious: The same thing happened…

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…

A Taxicab Confession for a Post-Ferguson America

A Taxicab Confession for a Post-Ferguson America

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:33pm

I had just finished a conversation with a local reporter comparing the events in Ferguson, Missouri with the disproportionate arrests of black people in Shreveport, Louisiana, for nonviolent offenses, when I noticed the driver had taken an interest…

Still from Rodney King beating video

The Video Revolution in Policing

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:39pm

We may have reached the point where video technology is producing a full-fledged revolution in policing. That revolution has been crystalized, or at least revealed by, the events in Ferguson.

The first element of that revolution is a growing…

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…

For the Poor, Every Arrest is a Gamble

For the Poor, Every Arrest is a Gamble

By Jennifer Carnig, New York Civil Liberties Union at 2:25pm

Homeless. Unemployed. Kids taken. Locked up. Guilty.

If you're rich like Lindsey Lohan, you can be charged with assault and let off the hook – all with the help of a highly paid, private lawyer. But if you're poor and accused of even the…

Attorney General Eric Holder

For Eric Holder, While He's on the Front Lines in Ferguson

By Jennifer Bellamy, Washington Legislative Office at 4:43pm

Long after the news cameras leave town, Attorney General Eric Holder wants the people in Ferguson to know he stands with them. He's in Missouri today, visiting the front lines.

In the days since Michael Brown was shot, the scene in Ferguson…