Why the ACLU is suing Compton Unified School District

untitledSo now illegal immigrants have more rights than U.S. citizens?  What the fuck?!  If you have ever went to court and listened to the charges against many of the illegal immigrants, they are mainly cited for driving without a license.  The judge tells them they could face deportation so they all plead “no contest”.  Will the ACLU sue the courts too?

The lawsuit went public on May 13, 2013.

LOS ANGELES (CA) –The Federal Civil Rights lawsuit alleges that the CUSD School Board and agents School Police have systematically placed “hits” on Latino Activist Parents Fighting for Student Educational Rights, effectively silencing their first amendment rights by racially profiling Latino Parents and Students, beating them, filing false police reports, filing false criminal prosecutions, intimidating witnesses with deportation if they testify, deporting and/or causing deportation of two Latino Activist Parents, confiscating and/or erasing multiple witness videos of police brutality, tampering with evidence, stalking and harassing multiple Latino Parent activists, “dispersing” Latino Parent peaceful protests for Latino Student Educational Rights including proper ESL classes.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the named Latino Activist Parents and Minor Students, alleges that the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) and School Police encouraged a systematic pattern and practice of violence against Latino Parent Activists demonstrators, including pepper spray,
beatings with batons, illegal choke holds, painful pressure point techniques, and deportations.

The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the excessive force used by police violated the First and Fourth amendments, and also seeks an injunction requiring CUSD and School Police to put in place a policy governing how police treat public protests and curbing the use of force against protesters and protect Latino First Amendment Rights regarding their concerns of inadequate ESL
classes for Latinos.

“If these abuses had taken place outside of Compton, or if the non-Spanish language media had covered the events in Compton more widely, there would have been widespread outrage at the
Compton Unified School District and School Police actions,” says Civil Rights Attorney Martin Kaufman.

The federal suit, filed in Central District of California, comes on the heels of a highly critical
report by the ACLU detailing unprecedented levels of abuse and Latino civil rights violations by the Compton Unified School District.

The suit is being brought on behalf of Latino Parents and Students who have suffered and continue to suffer direct harm as a result of the Compton Unified School District’s systematic silencing of the Latino Voice through School Police gratuitous use of force.

The pattern of abuse started in 2009, when the Compton Unified School District controversial English as a Second Language programs were underfunded and failed to meet Latino student needs. The eventual failure of Compton Unified to properly fund ESL sparked a series of Latino Parent Activist peaceful protests during which the School Board in conjunction with the School Police regularly attacked protesters exercising basic Constitutional rights.

“The Compton Unified School District Board and School Police Department appears to have an unwritten policy of suppressing the most fundamental rights under the constitution including
the right to free speech,” said Civil Rights Attorney Eric Christopher Morris.

The lawsuit details numerous instances of School Board and School Police abuse against Latino parent peaceful protesters at locations that are traditionally the site of public demonstrations on
public sidewalks across the street from numerous Compton Schools.

For instance, at one incident, uninvolved bystander and non-student photographer Victor Lopez, was pepper-sprayed by School Police at close range for “illegally” videotaping School Police brutality of Latino Parent Activists. “I was incapacitated” Lopez said, “but that didn’t stop the officer who pepper-sprayed me from hitting me with his baton, sending me to the ground and breaking my nose.”

As Civil Rights Attorney Martin Kaufman notes, “It is unfathomable that Mr. Lopez, an innocent bystander non-student Photographer, could pose a threat to heavily armed police officers from
the School Police.”

This was not an isolated incident. For example, the School Police used pepper spray and beatings with batons against Latino Parents, Students, and concerned citizens who had gathered outside Compton High School to peacefully protest recent School Board anti-Latino Educational policies. The suit also charges that School Police regularly used excessive force against the Latino Parent
and Student protesters at the School Board Headquarters and at other locations.

Outrage over the CUSD’s failure to properly provide Latino English as a Second Language legally required education, in part, resulted in the ACLU filing suit on April 24, 2013 against the State
Department of Education, naming Compton Unified as a violator of ESL Latino Rights. But no immediate, meaningful reforms have resulted in the wake of the ACLU lawsuit.

“It is a blatant violation of the law for CUSD not to provide Latino Students with the most basic and
essential component of their education — language to access their classes; when Latino Parents speak up as to the abuse, CUSD School Police have a unspoken pattern and practice of beating peaceful Latino Parent Protesters and silencing the Latino Parents’ Voice” said Civil
Rights Attorney Martin Kaufman.

“Plaintiffs were left with no choice but to turn to the judicial system in order to force the CUSD and School Police to take responsibility for its actions and to initiate real and lasting reform because neither public shaming nor informal political pressure have caused the CUSD and School Police to reform itself,” said Civil Rights Attorney Eric Christopher Morris.

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One Response so far.

  1. “So now illegal immigrants have more rights than U.S. citizens? What the fuck?! ”

    Double what the fuck. They’re suing about the use of “pepper spray, beatings with batons, illegal choke holds, painful pressure point techniques” on students, demonstrators and photographers. These are not ‘special rights’ that US citizens don’t have.

About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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