Blog of Rights

"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. One officer asserted, "People in your hood ride bikes to shoot people." Modesto, who was 16 years old at the time, and his friend were found to be doing nothing wrong. Embarrassed, shocked, and hurt, Modesto asked for an explanation. The officer responded, "We had to stop you. You look suspicious."
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.…

Plaintiff Shoshana Hebshi

Making Flying While Brown Safe Again

By Rachel Goodman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:31pm

When Shoshana Hebshi boarded Frontier Flight 623 on September 11, 2011, she was heading home to Detroit Metro Airport from a visit to her sister in San Francisco. She couldn't have foreseen that being seated next to two other brown-skinned people would…

Madonna Pappan

U.N. to Confront United States on Persistent Racial Discrimination

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:18pm

Imagine the government taking away your two children in a hearing that lasts less than 60 seconds.

Madonna Pappan and her husband, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, don’t have to imagine it, because it happened to them. And…

How Racial Bias Corrupts Juries

How Racial Bias Corrupts Juries

By Barry Scheck, Co-Director, The Innocence Project at 8:56am

This piece originally appeared on Salon.

Earlier this month, Glenn Ford, an African-American man, walked out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary after spending thirty years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. One of the most important…

#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…

Real People Aren't Target Practice

Real People Aren't Target Practice

By Joyce Hamilton Henry, ACLU of Florida at 11:16am

This was originally posted by the ACLU of Florida.

The pictures of six black men stared back at me from the screen, the images of their faces shredded by bullet holes. It seemed like some kind of sick threat, but it was the work of a Florida…

A Dangerous Precedent: Why Allow Racial Profiling at or Near the Border?

A Dangerous Precedent: Why Allow Racial Profiling at or Near the Border?

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:11pm

At a moment when the federal government is taking racial profiling seriously, it was gratifying to read that Attorney General Eric Holder "told colleagues that he believed that border agents did not need to consider race or ethnicity." Racial profiling…

How Can a 3-Year-Old Represent Himself in Court?

How Can a 3-Year-Old Represent Himself in Court?

By Beth Werlin, American Immigration Council & Kristin Macleod-Ball, American Immigration Council at 5:28pm

Each week, in immigration courts across the United States, hundreds of children, some as young as a few months old, come before immigration judges and are called upon to defend themselves against deportation. Among them is Arturo,* a three-year-old…

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…