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Racial Discrimination And Excessive Force

on 17 April 2009.

In all, six students – all of them students of color - were arrested and ultimately charged with minor offenses like disturbing the peace. Aguilar is currently employed as a school resource officer at Southaven Middle School.

“The decision by the two school district officials to involve the police in an incident that involved nothing more serious than verbal arguing was irresponsible, and the behavior of the police officers was reprehensible,” said Kristy Bennett, staff attorney with the ACLU of Mississippi. “There was absolutely no justification for even a single arrest, and there is no doubt that those who were arrested were singled out because of their race. The actions of the officers caught on video that day are just one more example of the problems our youth are dealing with in the school environment. The abuse of powers rampant in our schools these days is intolerable.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit charging Southaven, Mississippi police and DeSoto County school officials with assaulting and racially discriminating against a group of schoolchildren riding home on a school bus.

A copy of the ACLU’s complaint is available online at: www.aclu.org/crimjustice/juv/39309lgl20090409.html