ACLU: Madison Co. sheriff targets African-Americans

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Madison County sheriff’s department for what it says is unfair and unconstitutional policing that targets African-Americans.

The federal lawsuit accuses the sheriff’s department of running a “top-down program” of selectively targeting black communities with unconstitutional policing tactics such as “show-ID-and-search pedestrian checkpoints, roving roadblocks, ‘jump outs’ by plainclothes deputies in unmarked cars, and warrantless home invasions,” a release from the ACLU stated.

Heath Hall, spokesman for the Madison Co. Sheriff’s Department, said Tuesday afternoon Tucker had been served with the lawsuit in the past hour. He said it is the department’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.

A request for comment from Madison Co. attorney Katie Bryant Snell was not returned.

“The Madison County Sheriff’s Department routinely targets black people through widespread stops, searches and arrests that are not based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, but on race,” the ACLU’s release stated. “These practices frequently use unjustified and excessive force.”

Black people are almost five times more likely than white people to be arrested in Madison County, according to the ACLU. Despite a black population of only 38 percent, 73 percent of arrests made between May and October of 2016 were arrests of black people, the organization claims.

The complaint was filed in federal court by 10 individuals who were stopped by law enforcement in Madison “absent any wrongdoing.” The defendants are Madison County, Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker and six unnamed sheriff’s deputies.

Source: Mississippi Today