Blog of Rights

How Does the Federal Government Handle Prosecutions of Police Officers?

How Does the Federal Government Handle Prosecutions of Police Officers?

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 2:26pm
Should we take the Department of Justice's word on how federal prosecutions of police officers are being conducted and resolved, or do we need to see the data?
"People in <em>Your</em> Hood Ride Bikes to Shoot People."

"People in Your Hood Ride Bikes to Shoot People."

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:22pm

This week, 22-year-old Modesto Sanchez told lawmakers of the Massachusetts Legislature about the day he and his friend rode their bikes down the street on which Sanchez lived, only to be stopped and frisked within minutes by Boston police officers.…

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…

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.…

Ohio Wants to Cloak the Death Penalty in Secrecy

Ohio Wants to Cloak the Death Penalty in Secrecy

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 5:16pm

It would be an understatement to say Ohio has had many problems administering capital punishment.

Over the last decade, the state granted clemency to 10 people and botched four executions, including the tortuous death of Dennis McGuire, who…

Martin Sheen from The West Wing: Tell Congress Smarter Sentencing Now!

Finally! One of the West Wing's Biggest Cliffhangers Answered

By Meghan Groob, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:49am

Years after the West Wing left us hanging, we finally have an answer to one of the show's biggest unanswered questions: Does President Josiah Bartlet support sentencing reform?

Okay, maybe I'm overstating it a bit. The aptly titled episode…

#DearMrPresident: Stop Profiling Us

The Perversity of Profiling

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 2:19pm

The Justice Department is considering revised racial profiling guidance that, if issued, could set back race relations and basic fairness in this country. We hope that it does not make that mistake.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that…

Photo of police officer holding nightstick

We Need to Move Beyond the Frame of the “Bad Apple Cop”

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 6:27am

I and others have argued that video has “killed trust in police officers.” Police have been able to get away with a lot of abuse because judges, juries, and the public have usually deemed police officers more credible than abuse victims. But with…

How Did a Lifelong Prison Sentence for an Iraq Vet Turn Into an Imminent Death Sentence?

How Did a Lifelong Prison Sentence for an Iraq Vet Turn Into an Imminent Death Sentence?

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:39pm

Courtney Lockhart is an Iraqi war veteran now on Alabama's death row, but he shouldn't be.

The jury that heard the prosecutor's request for his execution voted unanimously against it, opting instead for life imprisonment after hearing evidence…

The DOJ Ferguson Report Isn’t Just an Indictment of Ferguson Police, but of American Policing Writ Large

The DOJ Ferguson Report Isn’t Just an Indictment of Ferguson Police, but of American Policing Writ Large

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 11:16am

What the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division uncovered in Ferguson – racially biased policing on steroids, encouraged by a court system whose budget was dependent on the extortion of its city's residents – isn't just a dark look into an…