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Civil Rights Update

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When it comes to how the police treat citizens, it is imperative that they practice constitutional policing. As a citizen, you are entitled to very specific rights. Below, we discuss some recent events and developments in addressing issues where those rights were violated:

Man Bitten By Police K-9 Sues Deputies for Civil Rights Violation

A man who was bitten by a K-9 last year under police supervision is suing the two deputies involved, alleging that he was subject to excessive force and unreasonable search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Specifically, he alleges that the K-9 ambush was improperly deployed while searching for a suspect approximately one year ago. The K-9 allegedly bit into the plaintiff’s arm, even though he was not a suspect, and was simply sitting on his own property. He is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages, and has demanded a jury trial.

Investigation against Police for Violating Protesters’ Civil Rights

During the week of November 22nd, the Justice Department and the FBI opened up investigations into the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, examining unconstitutional actions the department took during protests in September. Specifically, the investigation focuses on allegations of civil rights violations during protests which occurred after police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. Officers reportedly blocked people from recording their activities, unlawfully detained various protesters, and administered pepper spray to bystanders without warning; even on those who were sitting with their hands zip-tied.

A federal judge already granted a preliminary injunction on November 15th, mandating that the police adopt protocols to avoid depriving citizens of their constitutional rights. The order declares that the city cannot classify a protest as “unlawful assembly” unless there is a threat of violence, and also cannot use this declaration as punishment against citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights. Police were also ordered not to use chemical weapons against nonviolent protestors in the absence of probable cause for an arrest and/or using them to punish protesters.

The St. Louis police department is notorious for being the deadliest in the United States: according to data gathered, the department kills people at a higher rate than any other police department.

Education Department Changing Civil Rights Work

In late November, the Education Department altered the scope federal civil rights investigations in schools, deciding to no longer examine systematic problems that are linked to individual complaints. The changes also provide more control to the school versus the victim in the complaint process and in negotiating agreements with the agency, while also removing the possibility of victims filing an appeal. 

The War on the Environment and Civil Rights

The current administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations disproportionately affects minorities and low-income communities, as they are frequently located closer to toxins from industrial plants and other sources of major toxins. This inevitably makes it not only an environmental justice issue, but one that involves civil rights as well. 

Civil Rights Lawyers

At The Baez Law Firm, we work hard to protect our clients against civil rights violations due to police brutality, wrongful conviction, false arrest, racial discrimination, and related violations. When one person’s rights are violated, it is part of a systemic problem that affects all of us. Contact us today to find out how we can help – we serve clients throughout Florida and Massachusetts.

Resources:

dglobe.com/news/crime-and-courts/4365963-man-bitten-k-9-sues-deputies-county-alleged-civil-rights-violation

aclu.org/blog/free-speech/rights-protesters/st-louis-police-are-now-under-federal-investigation-violating

abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/education-department-considers-shrinking-civil-rights-work-51331012

motherjones.com/environment/2017/11/trumps-war-on-the-environment-is-a-civil-rights-emergency/

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