Law Officers Unfair to Blacks in Mississippi County: ACLU - NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Law Officers Unfair to Blacks in Mississippi County: ACLU

ACLU Mississippi executive director Jennifer Riley-Collins said problems in Madison County have existed for generations

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Meet Four Inspiring Kids Tackling Cancer
    AP
    Attorney Jonathan Youngwood, left, co-counsel with the ACLU of Mississippi, discusses their lawsuit on behalf of 10 plaintiffs suing the Madison County Sheriff's Department, challenging what they believe are unconstitutional policing policies of black residents in the Jackson suburb of Madison County, at a news conference in Jackson, Miss., Monday, May 8, 2017. Seated next to him are Quinnetta Manning, second from left, and Steven Smith, both plaintiffs from Madison County, and attorney Paloma Wu, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi, right.

    Law enforcement officers in one majority-white Mississippi county are unfairly targeting black people for traffic stops and searches of homes and property without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, a civil rights group claims in a new federal lawsuit.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi on Monday sued the sheriff's department in the Jackson suburb of Madison County. The suit seeks a court order against what it calls "a coordinated top-down program" that creates unequal treatment of black and white people. It also seeks a civilian board to review complaints against the department.

    Sheriff Randy Tucker would not immediately comment Monday because he had not seen the lawsuit, spokesman Heath Hall said. Tucker, who is white, took office in 2012.

    ACLU Mississippi executive director Jennifer Riley-Collins said problems in Madison County have existed for generations. The lawsuit says Tucker has continued longstanding policies, including warrantless searches of black residents' homes and seizure of their property, vehicle roadblocks that target black people and "jump out" patrols by plainclothes deputies that target black people for searches.

    How to Step Up Your Coffee Game With a Chemex

    [NATL] How to Step Up Your Coffee Game With a Chemex

    Making delicious home-brewed coffee will be easier than you think with these quick and easy steps to make coffee using a chemex. 

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    Madison County is 58 percent white and 38 percent black, roughly the same as Mississippi.

    Plaintiffs Khadafy and Quinnetta Manning are a married couple who live in Canton, the seat of Madison County government. The lawsuit says that in the early morning of June 26, 2016, six deputies "stormed" into their home and demanded that the couple sign false statements saying they had witnessed a crime in their neighborhood that they did not see.

    During a news conference Monday at the ACLU office in Jackson, Quinnetta Manning, 29, said deputies handcuffed and beat her 35-year-old husband, who uses a cane because of a nerve condition. She said one of the officers called her husband "Mr. Cripple." She said one deputy threatened to arrest and jail them if they didn't write a false witness statement against another black person.

    "I was terrified," Quinnetta Manning said. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what would happen to my children or I, so I agreed to write the statement."

    She said her husband was dragged out of the house, down some stairs, and was put into a patrol car and beaten until he wrote a false witness statement.

    "I am scared all the time that the sheriff's department will hurt me or family," Quinnetta Manning said. "I feel unsafe in my own home."

    Preschoolers Battle for Baby Jesus Doll

    [NATL] Preschoolers Battle for Baby Jesus Doll During Nativity Pageant

    Two preschoolers taking part in a nativity pageant at a Tennessee church engaged in a tug of war over a baby Jesus doll.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    Another plaintiff, 27-year-old Steven Smith of Canton, said that in January, he and a friend were walking near the mostly black housing complex where they live, and they were stopped by deputies.

    "I should be able to walk home without being harassed by the police," Smith said Monday.

    Smith, who works as a restaurant cook, said he was jailed after a deputy ran a background check on him and found he owed an unpaid fine to the county.

    Adorable Orphaned Sea Otter Pup Settling in at Oregon Zoo

    [NATL] Adorable Orphaned Sea Otter Pup Settling in at Oregon Zoo

    A sea otter pup known as "805" has been taken in by the Oregon Zoo after being orphaned off the California coast.

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017)

    "I should feel protected, but I don't feel protected, and I don't trust them," Smith said. "It's not a crime to be black, and I shouldn't be targeted just because of the color of my skin."

    Paloma Wu, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi, said research for the lawsuit started months ago. She said dozens of people were interviewed, and the ACLU filed numerous public records requests with the sheriff's department.


    Alabama Candidates Cast Their Ballots

    [NATL] Alabama Candidates Cast Their Ballots

    Republican Roy Moore, facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, and Democrat Doug Jones cast their ballots in the vote that will send one of them to the U.S. Senate. NBC's Chris Pollone reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017)