Happy Martin Luther King Day! - News from The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, ACLU of Rhode Island News, RIACLU News

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Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Posted: January 15, 2018|Category: Civil Rights Category: Discrimination Category: Racial/Ethnic Discrimination Category: Fair Administration of Justice Category: Police Practices Category: The "War on Drugs"

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The ACLU of RI has a long history defending the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.  We’ve got a long way to go, but in the spirit of celebrating the progress we’ve made – thanks in no small part to visionaries like MLK – here’s a look at six cases from more than a decade ago in which we challenged laws and practices that harmed people of color in our state:

  • Doriney v. Votto – We successfully represented a nine-year-old African-American student who was taken to the police station for allegedly throwing a snowball at another student. (1996)
  • Martinez v. Pawtucket Housing Authority – We settled this race discrimination case on behalf of a temporary custodian of Puerto Rican descent who was passed over for a permanent position after he “failed” a newly-devised written test. (2000)
  • Flowers v. Fiore – We brought this case on behalf of an African-American man who was stopped in his car and detained at gunpoint by Westerly police in a classic case of “racial profiling.”  (2001)
  • Metts v. Almond – In this “friend of the court” brief, we argued that a complaint by black voters about discriminatorily redrawn voting district lines was improperly dismissed. (2002)
  • RIACLU v. Providence Police Department – In this lawsuit, we successfully challenged the Providence Police Department’s failure to comply with the state’s “Driving While Black” law, which required that they collect data on all traffic stops to determine whether racial profiling was occurring. (2003)
  • Melendez v. Town of North Smithfield - This lawsuit, on behalf of a female Hispanic firefighter applicant, successfully challenged a state law that gave the town a special one-time exemption from the Fair Employment Practices Act so it could acquire an all-white, all-male private fire and rescue service.  (2003)

...now, if only we could get the Trump Administration to recognize that diversity makes this country great.

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