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Racial Profiling

U.S. State Department Gets a Lesson

Last month, Seattle Metro buses were running a disturbing ad.  Funded by the U.S. State Department, the ad featured pictures of 16 men wanted around the globe for terrorist activities.  The pictures of the men, all appearing to be Muslim with turbans, beards, and brown skin, were right below the large, bold message “FACES OF GLOBAL TERRORISM.” Read More »
Press Conference

Reject Arizona’s Racial Profiling Law and What It Stands For

The ACLU-WA’s Shankar Narayan joined immigrant rights allies and elected officials in speaking out against Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB 1070, a press conference on the steps of the federal courthouse in Seattle. He pointed that such laws fly in the face of our fundamental values. Read More »

Secure Communities Program Makes Communities Less Secure

Earlier today, the ACLU of Washington joined a number of allies in the immigrant rights community, including El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria and CASA Latina, at a press conference in opposition to the ever-expanding Secure Communities (S Comm) program. The press conference was a response to the federal government's move last week, with very little fanfare or publicity, to activate the program for all counties in Washington. Here's why that's bad news for every community in Washington. Read More »

Kudos to the DOJ! Now On to the Hard Work of Reform

I returned, very happily, from the Department of Justice press conference this morning. The DOJ’s in-depth report confirms what the ACLU has been saying and what many people of color and others have experienced – that the Seattle Police Department has engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force. Read More »

Border Patrol: Bored at the Border?

On the heels of Seattle Weekly reporter Nina Shapiro’s in-depth examination of the Border Patrol’s aggressive tactics on the Olympic Peninsula (“Twilight for Immigrants”) comes a revelation that sheds light on the troubling situation. In a follow-up story, Shapiro reports about a Border Patrol whistleblower who has come forward to assert that BP agents don’t have meaningful work to do far from our northern border.  Read More »

Liberty Link: Twilight for Immigrants on the Olympic Peninsula

A dynamite cover story in the latest Seattle Weekly – “Twilight for Immigrants” by Nina Shapiro – details the havoc being wreaked on lives and a community’s fabric by the U.S. Border Patrol’s heavy-handed tactics on Olympic Peninsula. The article is full of disturbing incidents which challenge the Border Patrol’s bland assertion that it does not engage in racial profiling. Read More »

Yes, Race Still Matters in Our Criminal Justice System

Several years ago, comedian Chris Rock created a “public service announcement” called “How Not to Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police.”  The message includes obvious directions like “obey the law” and as well as tongue-in-cheek suggestions like “if you have to give a friend a ride, get a white friend” and satire about police reactions. This piece is funny because it is based on a simple truth known throughout communities of color:  If you are a black or brown man, you don’t have to work very hard to attract the attention of the police. Read More »

Expose the Facts about Racial Bias in Washington!

Is the criminal justice system in Washington biased against people of color? Statistics from a new report may surprise you. Suppose a black driver and white driver are pulled over by police: Do you know which one is most likely to be searched? Do you know which one is most likely to actually have contraband in the car? Get involved and get the facts about racial bias. Take the quiz. We are working in the courts, in Olympia, and within Washington communities to stop racial bias, but we can't do it alone. We need your help. Take the quiz and spread the word about this injustice. Read More »

Community Members Want Real Solutions to Gang Violence

Eva’s son died from gang violence.  Every day she lives with an aching desire to hold him again.  But despite her grief, she opens her home to young people in her community, some of whom are at risk to be involved in gangs. A Yakima Valley resident, she wants to keep them off the streets and safe from the violence.   Eva is angry that her son is no longer with her, yet she wants more opportunities to help young people rather than sending them behind bars. Read More »

Officer Birk and the SPD's Bigger Problem

I can understand why many people in Seattle are angry that Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk will not be charged with murder. If you or I intentionally shot and killed someone who was not an immediate threat to us, we would be charged with murder or at the very least manslaughter. But the law treats police officers differently. In 1986, Washington’s legislature passed a law that allows police officers to escape criminal charges for killing a person so long as the officer had a good faith belief that his actions were justified and he acted “without malice.” This law protects the officer even if his “good faith belief” was wrong. So, it is not surprising that King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg believed that he would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Birk murdered John T. Williams. Read More »