ACLU of New Mexico Files for Motion Against Local Police in Ongoing Discrimination Case

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
April 20, 2005 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of New Mexico
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@aclu.org

SANTA FE, NM — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico today asked federal court judge Martha Vasquez to declare Hobbs city officials in “substantial non-compliance” with a court-endorsed agreement requiring the police department to stop discriminating and to uphold the constitutional rights of African Americans. The motion also asks the court to initiate contempt proceedings for the city’s failure to address a previous finding of non-compliance by Judge Vasquez under the terms of a 2001 settlement agreement.

“This is the second time in four years that we’ve had to go back and ask the court to order the Hobbs police to do what they promised to do in the settlement agreement,” said Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico. “We will keep going back to court until the department stops discriminating and starts respecting the constitutional rights of African Americans.”

ACLU of New Mexico cooperating attorneys Richard Rosenstock and Daniel Yohalem filed a class action suit on behalf of African Americans in Hobbs alleging race discrimination and unconstitutional actions in the police department including searches without warrants, unlawful arrests and traffic stops, the use of excessive force and the filing of false criminal charges.

In 2001, a settlement was reached that resolved many of the claims against the Hobbs police, and required the department to take certain remedial actions.

In 2003, the ACLU of New Mexico went to court asking Judge Vasquez to order the city of Hobbs to comply with the agreement. At that time the judge agreed that the police had disregarded the terms of the agreement and in 2004 ordered the city to comply, extending the agreement by 12 months.

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