UPDATES FROM THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION
The Justice announced that it has opened a statewide investigation into the conditions in Alabama’s prisons for men. The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions.
The Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a comprehensive report that examines barriers and promising practices – in recruitment, hiring and retention – for advancing diversity in law enforcement. The report, developed with support from the Center for Policing Equity, aims to provide law enforcement agencies, especially small and mid-size agencies, with a resource to enhance the diversity of their workforce by highlighting specific strategies and efforts in place in police departments around the country.
An Iowa man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stomping on and kicking the head of an African-American man in a racially targeted attack.
An indictment unsealed this week in St. Paul, Minnesota, charges 17 members of an international sex trafficking organization with transporting hundreds of women from Thailand and profiting from advertising them for commercial sex throughout the United States.
A one-count indictment was returned this week charging a former administrator of the McClain County Jail in Purcell, Oklahoma, with a civil rights violation arising out of the death of a detainee in June 2013.
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to building stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, the Department of Justice has led nearly 400 events in support of community policing efforts around the country. To further that effort, President Obama designated this week (October 2-8, 2016) as National Community Policing Week. The week is also an extension of the Attorney General’s 12-city Community Policing Tour that highlighted collaborative programs and policing practices designed to advance public safety, strengthen police-community relations, and foster mutual trust and respect between law enforcement and civilians.
The Justice Department announced that the Bossier City, Louisiana, Housing Authority (BCHA) has agreed to pay $120,000 and adopt new policies and practices to settle a lawsuit alleging that it discriminated on the basis of race and disability, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The Justice Department announced that it has filed a lawsuit against James C. Goss, the owner, and Cathy Plante and Joey Gwozdz, the managers, of May Grove Village Mobile Home Park, an 81-lot property in Lakeland, Florida. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants discriminated against African Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act. This case is the third mobile home park race discrimination case the Justice Department has filed in the Middle District of Florida in the last year.
The Civil Rights Division filed a Statement of Interest in Sanchez v. Cegavske, a case in the District of Nevada. The underlying complaint alleges that the state and two counties failed to offer equitable access to late registration sites, early voting sites and polling places to members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and the Walker River Paiute Tribe. The brief clarifies the applicable standard for evaluating these sorts of claims under the Voting Rights Act.
For more information, go to www.justice.gov.