Blog of Rights

Photo of a police traffic stop

Police Officer Discretion in the Use of Body Worn Cameras

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:30pm
In our October 2013 policy white paper on police body cameras, we struggled with how to ensure that the cameras would serve as an effective oversight mechanism for police while not unduly invading privacy. We pointed out that purely from an oversight standpoint, putting aside all other considerations, the ideal policy would be for officers’ cameras to run throughout their entire shift, which would guarantee that an officer could not evade detection while engaging in abuse. But as we discussed, it’s not possible to put aside all other considerations, including the privacy of the public and of officers.
Profiling Won't Save Us

Profiling Won't Save Us

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:50am

This piece originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog.

The Obama administration this week announced new guidance on how federal law enforcement agents may use race and other characteristics, such as religion and national origin, in their…

"What could possibly justify a government knowingly forcing its citizens into ho

Pushed into Homelessness by Their Own Government

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 10:46am

On the outskirts of Florida's Miami-Dade County, dozens of individuals formerly convicted of sexual offenses live as exiles on an abandoned strip of land near a railroad track. The area has no shelter from the elements, no running water, and no bathrooms.…

"The Constitution Was Written for Everyone, Not Just for People Who Make $100,000 a Year"

"The Constitution Was Written for Everyone, Not Just for People Who Make $100,000 a Year"

By Ujala Sehgal, Deputy Communications Director, New York Civil Liberties Union at 5:23pm

You may not have heard of the lawsuit Hurrell-Harring v. New York, but you've probably heard of your "right to an attorney" as an American.

As seen on just about every episode of "Law & Order," when people are arrested, they are informed…

Jail Doesn't Help Addicts. Let's Stop Sending Them There.

Jail Doesn't Help Addicts. Let's Stop Sending Them There.

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 11:17am

Misti Barrickman has scoliosis. Since she was a teenager, it's been debilitating. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to stand up.

She started taking Oxycontin to help with the pain and became addicted. She came to Seattle to find large quantities…

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…

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…

Border Crisis Prompting New Xenophobic Drumbeat for an Old Disgrace—Detention Camps

Border Crisis Prompting New Xenophobic Drumbeat for an Old Disgrace—Detention Camps

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project at 2:44pm

This piece originally appeared at The National Journal.

Seventy-two years ago, U.S. military officials labeled Japanese-Americans "an enemy race." Because they were Japanese-Americans, the government locked members of my family—along with…