Tag Archives: ACLU

WAR ON COPS California Considering Unprecedented Law Restricting Police

California War On Police

On the heels of police officers shooting a young, unarmed black man to death in Sacramento, California, last month, state lawmakers announced a first-of-its-kind bill on Monday that raises the standard for when officers may open fire.

The proposed legislation would change the guidance in California’s use of force laws so that police may open fire ”‘only when necessary’ rather than ‘when reasonable,’” Sacramento-based Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D), said at a press conference Tuesday.

He co-authored the bill with fellow Democrat Assemblywoman Shirley Weber with support from the American Civil Liberties Union and fellow members of the California Legislative Black Caucus. They were joined at Tuesday’s press conference with Sacramento leaders from the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the grandfather of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, last month’s shooting victim.

“We should no longer be the target practice of a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ police force,” Assemblyman Christopher Holden (D) said, before listing the names of several other unarmed black victims of police shootings.

The legislation is aimed at tackling the reality, as seen in studies, that police kill unarmed black men at disproportionate rates compared to unarmed white men. Supporters of the bill hope raising the standard for when lethal force is permitted will encourage officers to make de-escalation their first line of defense.

The current standard comes from an “over-100-year-old law that too often justifies deadly force incidents,” McCarty said.

In the weeks since Clark’s death, McCarty’s district has been stormed by protestors furious about the emerging details surrounding the shooting. Upward of 300 demonstrators gathered in Sacramento last Friday after an autopsy revealed the young father was shot at least seven times in the back in his own backyard.

“It’s clear that the current law protects the police, not the people,” ACLU legislative advocate Lizzie Buchen said at Tuesday’s announcement as activists recounted similar shooting incidents involving police.

Weber is confident the state can pave the way on this issue.

“If California can’t do it,” she asked, “who can?”

By Lydia O’Connor

The Juggalos Gang Is Marching On Washington And The ACLU Is Behind It.

Juggalos Gang

Protesters this year have marched on Washington, D.C. for many reasons.

Now, here come the Juggalos.

Followers of the hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse — aka Juggalos — are holding a march Saturday on the National Mall, alleging discrimination after the FBI labeled the group a gang in a 2011 report.

The band, consisting of the duo Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, said the gang accusation “has resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.” In a video on the their website, the hip-hop artists claim their fans have lost jobs, custody of their children and been denied access to the military for their Juggalo affiliation.

Juggalos are known for displaying the band’s symbol, a man running with a hatchet, and the signature white-and-black face paint. The FBI placed Juggalos on the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment following reports of crimes committed by people who wear Juggalo tattoos and clothing. Federal officials state there are more than one million Juggalos in the United States.

The band and the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Juggalos in 2014, claiming they had been targeted by police. A federal judge tossed the lawsuit later that year, saying the FBI isn’t responsible for how the report is used by local law enforcement agenies. The group, on the march’s website, said their case was again dismissed, prompting the march.

The group calls the gang label untrue. Juggalos, the website said, are a family “united by a shared love of music and fellowship.”

The event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday in front of the Lincoln Memorial and ends with an Insane Clown Posse performance. The group has told its followers not to destroy property or come intoxicated.