ACLU Lens: Laura W. Murphy Speaks Out As a Mother on the Impact of Trayvon Martin's Death 

Yesterday, the ACLU's Laura W. Murphy shared a personal story about how she has often feared her 22-year-old African-American son will be targeted like Trayvon Martin.

Speaking at the National Action Network National Convention, Murphy recalled how five years ago, she had to alert her neighbors in her predominantly white, upper-middle class neighborhood that her son was home from boarding school.

"There were so few Black men in our neighborhood that I had to send out an email to my neighbors, saying, 'Please do not call the police, because if you see a young Black man walking around, that's my child,'" Murphy said. "So Trayvon Martin affects all of us."

Murphy's remarks resonated with the crowd, reflected in this video of her speech at the Daily Caller.

Her story was also picked up in the Associate Press's coverage of the event, in which Attorney General Eric H. Holder's announced that the Justice Department will take appropriate action in the killing of Trayvon Martin if it finds evidence that a federal criminal civil rights crime has been committed.

The ACLU has called on Congress to:  fully fund the DOJ Civil Rights Division so that it may conduct investigations into civil rights violations by law enforcement across the nation; and to  pass the End Racial Profiling Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. John Conyers, (D-Mich.) which would, among other things, provide training to help police avoid responses based on stereotypes and unreliable assumptions about minorities.

In addition the ACLU urges the Obama administration to strengthen the Department of Justice Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies to address profiling by religion and national origin, close loopholes for the border and national security, and make the guidance enforceable.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) announced the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing racial profiling in America – the first Senate hearing on this topic in over a decade, since before 9/11.

Learn More:

Washington Post: Trayvon Martin's parents react to Zimmerman's arrest
Raw Story: ACLU: Trayvon Martin case shows need for federal anti-racial profiling law
USA Today: Poll shows racial divide on views of Trayvon Martin case
New York Times Op-Ed: From O.J. to Trayvon

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Why is no one bringing national attention to the shooting of a young African American male in Slinger, WI. His name was Bo Morrison. He was 20 years old. He was hiding on porch after a under age drinking party was being busted by the cops. The man who shot him was not startled in the middle of the night and Bo Morrison was no threat to him. He was simply a young man running from a drinking party who is now dead.


What EVIDENCE--rather than conjecture and personal anecdotes of fear and concerns from your Laura Murphy (who frets about her own son's safety in a predominantly white neighborhood)--does the ACLU have for concluding that the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death was racially-motivated or an act of "racial-profiling"? Was the ACLU or Laura Murphy there at the time of the altercation between George Zimmerman, a Hispanic, and Trayvon Martin, an African American youth? Why the rush to judgment before the trial of Zimmerman? The ACLU used to stand for due process. But it hasn't questioned the state prosecutor's end run around a grand jury--and it hasn't urged Americans to wait for the trial before coming to hard and fast conclusions about the facts and circumstances of this child's death. Here, the ACLU stands curiously with race hucksters and "civil rights" activists who demand arrests, and conviction, and the ACLU uses this tragedy as support for new federal laws that will address "racial profiling", citing this incident as "proof" or as an example that racial profiling is endemic. But using personal anecdotes and supposition, and citing "facts" neither in evidence nor contested in a court of law is too easy and sloppy a leap to the conclusion that this killing was as an act of racial-profiling. This stirring of passions and prejudices is on the ACLU's part sheer racial paranoia and hyperbole and contributes to a climate of racial divisiveness and pre-trial publicity that undermines due process rights and respect for the rule of law. A defendant is entitled to the legal presumption of innocence--but the ACLU doesn't or won't say that. Instead, ACLU officials claim that the Trayvon Martin tragedy is "racial profiling," the kind of "racial profiling" that warrants federal anti-racial profiling legislation. Missing in its analysis is how, if at all, a federal law aimed at police officers who engage in racial profiling relates to the conduct of a civilian neighborhood watchman who confronts a civilian--even assuming that the civilian patrol racially-profiles. On this, on just about every level, the ACLU is way off the mark.
Michael Meyers, executive director, New York Civil Rights Coalition


Can not believe you people. I agree with Michael Meyer, he's right.


I agree with Michael Meyer and the above statement. Your not helping justice and the right to defend ourselves what so ever. Are you afraid of the black panthers too? Thanks for nothing. I will remember that one.

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