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By Mike Meno, Communications Director of the ACLU of North Carolina

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil rights lawsuit against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson yesterday, charging that under his direction, the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has systematically and unlawfully targeted Latino residents for investigation, traffic stops, arrests, seizures, and other enforcement actions since at least 2007. The lawsuit asks a federal court to order Sheriff Johnson to refrain from discriminatory policing and for the ACSO to adopt and implement policies that would constitutionally protect and serve all county residents.

The ACLU and other groups have been receiving complaints about Johnson, his deputies, and their treatment of Latinos for years. But some of the alleged examples of Sheriff Johnson’s own prejudice and policing style outlined in yesterday’s lawsuit – which resulted from a two-year investigation and interviews with more than 100 witnesses – are truly shocking.

Among them:

-“In a staff meeting … in January 2007, Defendant Johnson yelled “bring me some Mexicans!” while banging his fists on the table.” Read More

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The North Carolina NAACP renewed its call for gubernatorial pardons in the infamous “Wilmington 10″ case again today and the evidence they advanced in support of the demand was disturbing and compelling.

The following is from a release that accompanied this morning’s press conference:

RALEIGH – Newly discovered racist jury profiling by the Pender County Prosecutor Jay Stroud, shows shocking racial hostility toward prospective Black jurors. In his first effort to select a jury to convict ten young activists who had been charged with burning a Wilmington store, District Attorney Stroud ended up with ten Blacks and two Whites. Stroud felt “sick,” and asked for a mistrial. The judge agreed, and the trial was rescheduled for Pender County. Stroud got a list of about 100 prospective jurors, and he wrote racial comments beside most of their names.

 “We rarely get such direct evidence of prosecutorial racism in jury selection,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the North Carolina NAACP. Read More

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Gov. Perdue took some heat earlier this year when she pointed out that the General Assembly seemed to be bent on transforming North Carolina into Mississippi-on-the-Atlantic. As we’ve  noted here and here however, she was actually on the money with her comments.

Today, there’s new confirmation of just how desperately screwed up things are in the state that conservatives in the North Carolina frequently hold up as a model. This is from the folks at Think Progress (who also supplied the photo at left):

“The Department of Justice on Friday uncovered a so-called “School-to-Prison pipeline” in Mississippi, where teachers and principals are shipping off children into the criminal justice system for infractions as small as a dress code violation.”

You can read the entire sickening story by clicking here.

 

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Cross-posted from Think Progress:

By Ian Millhiser

Yesteday, the Supreme Court handed down a 5-3 decision striking down three key provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 law, and effectively limiting the scope of the law’s “show me your papers” provision requiring law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country illegally. Here are four key takeaways from this decision:

1. Arizona Does Not Get To Have Its Own Immigration Policy: For decades the backbone of American immigration law has been an understanding that the United States has one immigration policy set by our national government, not fifty different immigration policies set by fifty different states. Today’s decision leaves this basic framework in place. In the words of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion, “[i]t is fundamental that foreign countries concerned about the status, safety, and security of their nationals in the United States must be able to confer and communicate on this subject with one national sovereign, not the 50 separate States.”

2. Arizona Cannot Create New Crimes Targeting Immigrants: Read More

Yield: Love conquers everything; let us too, yield to love

This is the final piece in a series of videos by Mimi Schiffman on North Carolina’s Amendment One:

“You know, everybody says it’s just a word, but there’s more to it. There’s a feeling of belonging,” said Jeff Enochs of Charlotte, N.C. “I wanted my state to recognize that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Watch Jeff and his partner Brian Helms travel to Washington, D.C., the closest place they can legally marry.

The wedding is set to take place just weeks in advance of North Carolina’s primary, in which voters will decide whether to amend the constitution to read: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Production: Mimi Schiffman
Music: Phil Cook & His Feat
Additional Camera: Ben Berry

Mimi Schiffman is a photographer, videographer and multimedia producer pursuing a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This work is a part of a documentary project she is producing on marriage equality for her thesis. The work is being released in the lead-up to the 2012 North Carolina primaries on May 8, 2012, where voters are asked to decide on a constitutional amendment which could render many established same-gender couples and their families legal strangers in the eyes of the law.

Mimi’s work is being posted on Huffington Post.