ACLU of Rhode Island Sues Providence Police For Violating "Racial Profiling" Law

November 6, 2001 12:00 am

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ACLU of Rhode Island Sues Providence Police For Violating “Racial Profiling” Law


PROVIDENCE, RI — The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island today filed a lawsuit against the Providence Police Department for failing to comply with the state’s “”Driving While Black”” law.

The law, passed last year, requires all police departments in the state to collect data on traffic stops in order to determine if racial profiling is occurring. Police Chief Richard Sullivan acknowledged last month that the department had not been complying.

“”The actions of the Providence Police in failing to comply with the law shows a real insensitivity to the whole issue of racial profiling,”” said ACLU volunteer attorney Carolyn Mannis.

Statistics released last month raised serious questions about the police department’s compliance with the law. After Chief Sullivan acknowledged that the department was not in compliance, the ACLU decided to seek an order requiring the department to comply with the law, and the appointment of a Special Master to audit the Providence Police and ensure future compliance with the Act.

“”It is incomprehensible how the largest police department in the state could have ignored its statutory obligations under this highly-publicized law enforcement statute,”” said Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island. “”Appointment of a Special Master is essential to ensure that this law will now be faithfully followed in all respects.””

In response to the ACLU’s lawsuit, the Attorney General of Rhode Island filed a similar lawsuit that seeks only an injunction ordering the Providence Police Department to comply with the law.

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