Police Practice Issues The ACLU of Rhode Island is Involved With - Court Cases, Legislation, News Releases

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Police Practices

Police play an important role in working to protect and serve the public, yet abuses of police power continue to be a problem in Rhode Island and nationwide, particularly in low-income communities and in communities of color.  Years of traffic stop data in Rhode Island have demonstrated consistently that black and Hispanic drivers are twice as likely as white drivers to be stopped by police and searched, while white drivers are more likely to be found with contraband when searched.  The ACLU of Rhode Island has worked for many years as a part of a diverse coalition to advocate for the passage of comprehensive legislation to prevent racial profilingThe ACLU also works on various other police misconduct issues, such as those surrounding stop-and-frisk tactics, surveillance, brutality, and the withholding of public police records from citizens.

The ACLU of Rhode Island recently released a report, "The School-To-Prison Pipeline In Black And White," offers a brief but systematic examination of racial disparities in Rhode Island, and how those interconnected disparities can lead to a lifetime of unequal treatment. The report highlights numerous disparities, including those in traffic stop and search rates and arrest rates.

Police Misconduct in the News

  • Nov, 03, 2018: ACLU Issues Statement on Arrest of Richard Gardner
  • Oct, 22, 2018: ACLU Sues N. Smithfield Police for Placing Resident in Danger by Falsely Labeling Him Unstable
  • Sep, 10, 2018: ACLU Statement on the Fatal Shooting of DaShawn Cole by Pawtucket Police

View All News Releases Related to Police Misconduct »

Police Misconduct Related Court Cases

2018: Richer v. N. Smithfield Police Department
Category: Active Case    Due Process    Police Practices    Right to Petition & Protest    

About This Case:
This is a federal lawsuit on behalf of a North Smithfield resident, challenging the police department’s refusal to remove from its files a note falsely claiming that he is “dangerous,” “psychologically unstable,” and has numerous weapons at his house. Police officials have acknowledged that they have no basis for the claims contained in the note, which was uncovered while the ACLU was litigating another pending lawsuit on behalf of the resident, Jason Richer.

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in October 2018.

ACLU Cooperating Attorneys:
Thomas W. Lyons, Rhiannon S. Huffman

Supporting Documents
2017: Lacoste v. RI State Police
Category: Active Case    Due Process    Fair Administration of Justice    Open Government    Police Practices    

 

About This Case:
This is a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the RI State Police for abusing their power by retaliating against a Warwick resident who declined to serve as an informant for the agency in an ongoing criminal investigation. The lawsuit argues that RISP relied on a dubious state law to bar the plaintiff from continuing to work at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln when she bowed out of assisting RISP as an informant.

Current Status:
Suit filed in November 2017.

ACLU Cooperating Attorney:
James W. Musgrave

Supporting Documents

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