American Civil Liberties Union

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is reporting that 21 people have died after encounters with police officers in Maryland in 2015.

The briefing paper, released Tuesday by the organization's Maryland office, is an update to data published last year reporting that 109 people died after encounters with law enforcement officers in the state between 2010-2014.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Supreme Court has allowed the American Civil Liberties Union and Harvard University academics to weigh in as it prepares to answer questions regarding the constitutionality of Delaware's death penalty statute.

The justices on Tuesday agreed to accept friend-of-the-court briefs from ACLU-Delaware and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.

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A lawyer has confirmed the identity of a Baltimore school police officer seen on video slapping and kicking a 16-year-old inside a school.

Attorney Mike Davey tells The Baltimore Sun that his client Anthony C. Spence of Baltimore thought the boy was trespassing on school grounds and questioned him. Davey said he could not go into specifics because of the ongoing investigation.

The 44-year-old Spence hung up when The Associated Press contacted him by phone.

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Neither police nor prosecutors have told Delaware officials how they spend money that come from a special fund made up of cast and property seized from citizens who are suspected of a crime but not necessarily convicted.

A Wilmington News Journal investigation found that law enforcement has not been complying with the law in detailing for the state auditor spending under the Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund.

EASTON, Md. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the Talbot County branch of the NAACP are challenging the way the county decided to keep the Talbot Boys monument honoring Confederate soldiers.

The two groups announced Tuesday in a release that they filed a complaint asking the Open Meetings Compliance Board to rule that the county council violated the Maryland Open Meetings Act. They allege that while the council held public forums on the matter, it didn't provide minutes of closed door discussions about it.

equality virginia website

A measure in the Virginia legislature would allow state government officials from having to perform same-sex marriages if it violates their religious beliefs.

The bill also would allow religious organizations and their employees to deny services and facilities for marriage related activities.

The bill was approved by a legislative committee despite the opposition of the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality Virginia.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the legislation was introduced after the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal.

Dover police

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a man who suffered a broken jaw when he was kicked in the head by a Dover police officer.

Attorneys for the ACLU, Dover, and Cpl. Thomas Webster IV filed a stipulation of dismissal last week.

Neither the stipulation nor Monday's order approving the dismissal contained details on the settlement.

Dover Police

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials say Dover has paid its $15,000 insurance deductible in settling a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union after a white police officer kicked a black suspect in the head and broke his jaw

Officials last week confirmed a resolution to the lawsuit, but released no details.

Dover City Manager Scott Koenig told the Delaware State News on Wednesday that under the city's insurance policy, Travelers Insurance would cover the rest of any settlement above the deductible.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A federal judge has refused to force the Red Clay school district to enroll three children living outside the district.
The children previously attended a Red Clay school but have been living outside the district since their mother was placed on unpaid leave and lost her apartment. Their father, who shares custody, enrolled the children in the Christina school district, and the children now reportedly live with their godmother in the Colonial district.

Pocomoke City has been hit with a second complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

The civil liberties organization charges that there has been a violation of Maryland’s Open Meetings Act in late June when the town council decided behind closed doors to fire its police chief.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Stephen Janis who is a reporter for the Baltimore-based non-profit The Real News Network.   

The meeting in question occurred on July 13th when City Police Chief Kelvin Sewel was dismissed.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court in Virginia has ruled that police must obtain a search warrant to obtain records about cellphone locations in criminal investigations.
The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday's decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals conflicts with two other federal appeals court rulings and increases the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue.

petersbirg website

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) - A Petersburg man is suing Petersburg for barring him from speaking at a City Council meeting.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed the lawsuit on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond on behalf of Petersburg activist Linwood Christian.

The ACLU says Christian was barred from speaking at a City Council meeting in January because he hadn't paid a city fine.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has scheduled a news conference at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

The announcement is set for Thursday afternoon. A spokesman declined to comment ahead of the event about what the announcement will be.

Last month, the ACLU and Public Justice Center called on a federal judge to reopen a lawsuit against the state of Maryland over what they described in court documents as so substandard that it brings "shame to his city."

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The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that the internal investigation into the case of Maryland State Trooper who left the N-word on Teleta Dashiell’s voice mail is a personnel not a public record.

In addition, the court said that she was not a person in interest regarding the disciplinary actions taken against Sgt. John Maiello in Somerset County.

The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a Freedom of Information request for the records of the March 2010 incident.

Dover Police Dept

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A trial has been scheduled for November for a Delaware police corporal charged with assault.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that a Nov. 30 trial has been set for Dover Cpl. Thomas Webster, who is charged with second-degree assault. Last month, police released a 2013 dashcam video showing Webster kicking Lateef Dickerson in the face when he was on his hands and knees. Police say Dickerson was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A workgroup of Maryland lawmakers is scheduled to meet to examine public safety and policing practices.

The panel of state House and Senate lawmakers is set to hold its first meeting Monday afternoon in Annapolis.

Lawmakers will seek input from advocates and members of the public over several meetings to make recommendations for next year's legislative session.

The panel was formed in response to the rioting in Baltimore in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death in April after being injured in police custody.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A police dashcam video shows a black suspect being kicked in the face by a white Dover police officer who was charged this week with assault.

The video released Thursday by police is part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over the August 2013 incident.

The video shows Cpl. Thomas Webster IV, who was responding to a disturbance at a gas station, kicking Lateef Dickerson. Dickerson, responding to commands to get on the ground, is on his hands and knees.


After the withdrawal of National Guard units and the extra law enforcement, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has lifted the state of emergency imposed after a night of rioting followed by a curfew last week.

Over 3,000 Maryland National Guard and 1,000 law enforcement officers were called in to restore order.

The governor said it was not time to rebuild the city as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called in the Justice Department to examine police practices that might have led to the unrest.

CVS to Rebuild

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware has filed a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring high-risk sex offenders on probation to wear a GPS monitor and pay a daily charge.
The News Journal of Wilmington reports the ACLU filed the suit this week on behalf of three unidentified sex offenders. The ACLU says the three plaintiffs were convicted before the 2007 law was enacted. The organization says the rule is unconstitutional when applied to those who convicted crimes before 2007.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The attorney for a Dover police officer is blasting prosecutors' efforts to continue to pursue assault charges against him after a grand jury declined last year to indict him.

Cpl. Thomas Webster was arrested and released on bond Monday after a second grand jury indicted him on assault.

Webster was placed on leave in 2013 after reportedly kicking Lateef Dickerson, a suspect in a fight, breaking his jaw and rendering him unconscious.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the constitutionality of a Delaware law that requires GPS monitoring of certain convicted sex offenders on probation.

The complaint filed Monday targets a 2007 law that requires GPS monitoring of Tier 3, or high-risk, sex offenders who have been released from custody and are on probation.

The ACLU says the law is unconstitutional on its face, and as applied by the Department of Correction to people convicted of offenses that occurred before July 2007.

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is siding with the Washington Redskins in a court battle over the team's name.

The ACLU filed papers last week supporting the team's position that canceling the Redskins trademark violates the team's free-speech rights.

A federal panel ruled last year the trademark should be canceled, but the team is challenging that decision in federal court in Alexandria.

equality virginia website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Civil liberties lawyers are applauding Virginia's registrar of vital records for outlining new procedures to ensure the children of same-sex married couples are properly recorded by hospitals.

Registrar Janet M. Rainey outlined the procedures in a late January letter.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia said the change is important to ensure that the children of same-sex married couples have the same legal protections as all married couples.

Dover Police Website

If you shoplift in Dover expect to your arrest photo to getting posted on line for the public to see.

That’s the program, which Dover police say, has seen a 19 percent drop in such crimes since it began in August of last year.

It’s called, ”Shoplifter Notification Program."

Cpl. Mark Hoffman with the Dover Police Department believes that the pilot program will show up in other jurisdictions.

A major decline in such crimes occurred around the holiday season one of the busiest times for shoplifting.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A regional law enforcement initiative to gather and store personal telephone data collected in criminal investigations is drawing attention in Virginia.

The American Civil Liberties Union has raised concerns about the legality of the agreement involving five Hampton Roads localities. ACLU of Virginia lawyer Robert Poggenklass said Monday that the agreement allows one agency to share legally obtained telephone data with a second agency, which doesn't have to get a warrant.

Delaware Department of Correction

Lakisha Short is a transgender who is serving a 55 year sentence in Delaware state prison.

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is helping her get her name changed to Kai – a request that has been denied by two courts.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that court documents says the 34-year old Short self-identifies as a male and wants to be known by the more masculine name of Kai as a first step.

Delaware state law only allows a name change for a sincerely held religious belief not for gender identification.

Smyrna Police Face Second Lawsuit

Oct 9, 2014

A second lawsuit has been filed against the Smyrna Police Department.

This time it alleges that two people were wrongfully arrested by the police.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the incident occurred in December of 2013 involving a Smyrna High School student who was struck by another for speaking Spanish.

The suit claims that both students were arrested in retaliation for the mother of the student and the student expressing concerns to the department about bullying.

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SMYRNA, Del. (AP) - A town police department is facing a lawsuit over its ticket-writing policies after the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union said police wrongly ticketed a driver who flashed his headlights to warn fellow motorists of a speed trap.
The Delaware ACLU says the flashing-headlights ticket is one among several violations by the Smyrna Police Department, including an allegation that Smyrna police improperly arrested a man for cursing at an officer.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the city of Dover and one of its police officers on behalf of a man who claims he was assaulted by the officer.

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Wilmington alleges that Cpl. Thomas Webster repeatedly struck Lateef Dickerson without provocation, knocking him unconscious, after responding to a disturbance at a local gas station in August 2013.

The lawsuit says the 30-year-old Dickerson, who has a long criminal history, suffered a broken jaw and facial cuts.

Don Rush

A group of Wilmington and New Castle County leaders are calling on the Delaware Department to open up about who is being suspended from school and why.

The Coalition for Fairness and Equity in Schools says there is a disproportionate number of African American, Hispanic and special-needs students, who are being sent home.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that they say this is setting those students up for social failure and potentially prison.

The leaders say these suspensions put student behind academically and affect their interest in school.