ACLU of Florida Clarifies Position on “Miami Shield” Program

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
November 29, 2005 12:00 am

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Statement of Howard Simon, Executive Director, ACLU of Florida

* Note: This statement was issued in response to an Associated Press story which incorrectly implied that the ACLU was endorsing the “Miami Shield” program of conducting random ID checks without suspicion. The story was later corrected.

MIAMI — There is some confusion over the specifics of the “Miami Shield” Program. Reports differ as to whether the plan involves large squads of officers stopping everyone at a locale and then demanding people to produce identification. Although the Miami Police Department has claimed that “Miami Shield” will respect people’s rights, much of its constitutionality will depend on how the program is implemented.

If police officers plan on stopping people and demanding identification without any reason to believe that there is criminal activity, that is unconstitutional.

When law enforcement stops people based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing, that is always both more effective and consistent with constitutional principles. Other post 9/11 law enforcement tactics such as randomly searching subway riders in New York City or conducting mass pat-down searches of everyone entering the Raymond James Football Stadium in Tampa violate constitutional principles and are a waste of law enforcement resources.

A news release about the ACLU of Florida’s successful opposition to the Tampa pat-down searches is online at

A news release about the NYCLU’s opposition to subway searches is online at

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