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Ascension Parish, Louisiana Sheriff #racist aclu.org

A Louisiana Parish Jailed a U.S. Citizen for Being Latinx. We’re Suing.

Ramon Torres had been a U.S. citizen for nearly ten years when he was detained for four days on an immigration hold – despite having a U.S. passport, a Louisiana driver’s license, and a Social Security card, and despite that fact that a court ordered his release.

Torres’ ordeal began in August 2018, when he was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Torres, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2009, was carrying multiple forms of identification, including his driver’s license and other security credentials. Torres was booked at the Ascension Parish Jail, and the next day the Parish Court ordered his release.

But Torres wasn’t released. Instead, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office placed an “immigration hold” on Torres on the suspicion that he was unlawfully present in the United States.

The basis for this suspicion? He had a Latinx name and brown skin. Staff at the sheriff’s office explained that they had a policy of detaining all Latinx people for immigration review.

When his friends and family tried to intervene and provide additional documentation proving that Torres is a U.S. citizen, officials in the sheriff’s office still didn’t budge.

Torres spent four days in jail before a lawyer’s involvement finally secured his release.

This was a flagrant violation of Torres’ constitutional rights, and this week the ACLU of Louisiana sued on his behalf.

Racial profiling is illegal, unconstitutional, and deeply harmful to families and communities – diverting scarce resources away from pressing public safety priorities.

What happened to Torres is inexcusable and antithetical to our most cherished American values.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when local law enforcement authorities get in the business of federal immigration enforcement. From Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign of terror in Arizona to the Trump administration’s mass deportation and detention agenda, immigrant communities are being unfairly targeted, harassed, and terrorized by the very law enforcement agencies that should be protecting them.

It’s also a reminder of the thinly-veiled racism that underlies these policies. Ramon Torres is a U.S. citizen. He owns a home. He has a driver’s license and other forms of proof of his identity. But he was held in jail because of his Latinx name and the color of his skin.

Our lawsuit asks the court to declare these actions unconstitutional and to award damages to Torres for what he endured. But more broadly, we must also continue the fight against all forms of anti-immigrant bias and discrimination. The safety and wellbeing of our communities depend on it.

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Back the Blue #fundie aclu.org

[A response to an article about Jeff Session's efforts to reduce federal funding to underserved communities' collaborative reform and instead calling for them to "fight the violence", despite these police stations personally asking for him to do so to help soothe the anger and tensions that arise when police brutality seemingly goes unpunished. Nominating this response for the "He Who Fights Monsters" award.]

Here's how you can back the blue! When one of them pull into your drive through you can spit, cough, pee, or put boogers in their drinks. You can rub their food on the floor. Also painting slogans of love and peace on police vehicles and buildings is a good way to express love. They hate message of peace even more than hate. Don't ever paint hate messages like "pig", "snake", "racist" etc... they love these.

Resist, but always do it in a non violent manner.

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Mississippi Highway Patrol and Judge Aubrey Rimes #racist aclu.org

Today, in a letter to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the ACLU and United Sikhs called on state officials to investigate the harassment of a Sikh commercial truck driver pulled over early this year for a flat tire. After detaining Mr. Jageet Singh in January as he passed through Mississippi, the officers called him a "terrorist" and harassed and humiliated him because of his appearance and religious beliefs. As a devout Sikh, Mr. Singh wears a turban and carries a kirpan. A kirpan is a small, spiritual sword that is sheathed and sewn to the waistband. It is designed and worn as an article of faith, much as a cross is worn by devout Christians.

Contending, wrongly, that his kirpan was illegal, the officers demanded that Mr. Singh remove it. When Mr. Singh explained that he was a Sikh and that the kirpan was a sacred religious article, the officers laughed at him and mocked his religious beliefs. One officer declared that all Sikhs are "depraved" and "terrorists." They continued to taunt him, and forced Mr. Singh to circle his truck with his hands on his turban while they searched the vehicle. Finally, not content with this humiliation, they arrested him, claiming that Mr. Singh had refused to obey an officer's lawful command.

Mr. Singh's ordeal did not end with the MDOT. When he returned to Mississippi on March 26, 2013, for his court date at the Pike County Justice Court, he once again suffered humiliation, harassment, and discrimination because of his religious beliefs. Waiting for his attorney in the back of the courtroom, he was stunned when four Highway Patrol officers approached him and ordered him to leave the courtroom. The officers stated that Judge Aubrey Rimes had ordered them to eject Mr. Singh from the courtroom because he did not like Mr. Singh's turban. Moreover, they told Mr. Singh that Judge Rimes would punish him if he failed to remove his headdress.

When Mr. Singh's attorney went to Judge Rimes's chambers to inquire about the matter, he readily confirmed that he had expelled Mr. Singh from the courtroom because of his turban. He further stated that Mr. Singh would not be allowed to re-enter the courtroom unless he removed "that rag" from his head and threatened to call Mr. Singh last on the docket if he continued to wear the religious headdress.

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Masterpiece Cake Shop #fundie aclu.org

Imagine being told that the love between you and your partner is less legitimate than a dog wedding. Or having your commitment to one another compared to pedophilia.

Stephanie Schmalz and her partner, Jeanine, wanted to order some cupcakes to celebrate their commitment ceremony. They contacted Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colorado, but the store refused to take their order, informing the couple that they have a strict policy against selling cakes for same-sex weddings and ceremonies.

Then Stephanie tried a little experiment. She called the bakery and told the owner, Jack Phillips, that she was planning to host a wedding celebration for two dogs. She told him that the dog wedding cake would need to feed 20 people and should be decorated with the names "Roscoe" and "Buffy." Without hesitation, Phillips quoted her a price and asked how soon she needed it.

When another couple tried to place an order with Phillips, he told them he would not provide a cake for same-sex weddings, the same way he would not provide cakes for pedophiles.