HARRISBURG - Legislation to prohibit municipalities from punishing property owners and residents for calling authorities during emergencies passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today. The bill was introduced by Representative Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery County) and passed the House after the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lakisha Briggs, a resident of Norristown, Montgomery County, and a survivor of domestic violence. The ACLU of Pennsylvania supports House Bill 1796.
PITTSBURGH - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of Dennis Henderson, an African-American teacher who was arrested and jailed for 12 hours after criticizing the speed of a white Pittsburgh police officer driving by. All charges against Henderson were dropped by the district attorney, and the Office of Municipal Investigations (OMI) determined that the police officer had acted improperly.
PITTSBURGH – The Point Marion Police Department has paid $65,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of a Fayette County man who was arrested in 2012 for using his cell phone to audio-record a police officer.
PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and co-counsel filed two separate federal lawsuits today on behalf of individuals arrested for observing Philadelphia police in public. These lawsuits are part of a series aimed at stopping Philadelphia police officers' unlawful practice of arresting citizens in retaliation for observing the police performing their duties.
Report Alleges Officers Target African-American Men At Disproportionate Rate
PHILADELPHIA - The ACLU of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg filed a report with the court and monitor today as required by the consent decree in Bailey v. Philadelphia. The complaint in Bailey alleged that under the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD)'s stop-and-frisk policies, officers often stopped pedestrians without "reasonable suspicion" that the person was involved in criminal activity, and disproportionately stopped African-American men.
PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and ACLU affiliates in 22 other states today simultaneously filed over 255 public records requests to determine the extent to which local police departments are using federally subsidized military technology and tactics that are traditionally used overseas.
PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and co-counsel filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of Christopher Montgomery, a Philadelphia resident who was arrested for using his cellphone to record an arrest. The police also erased the video he had made. This is the first in a series of lawsuits arguing that Philadelphia police officers routinely manufacture criminal charges to retaliate against individuals who observe or record police activity.
PITTSBURGH - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Angelica Davila, a U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico and legally immigrated to this country at the age of 2 with her parents. After being stopped for a minor traffic violation in 2011, Davila was arrested and imprisoned in the Allegheny County Jail overnight based on the erroneous belief she was in the country illegally.
PITTSBURGH - The city of Pittsburgh has agreed to pay more than $200,000 to settle two cases stemming from the actions of the city during the September 2009 G-20 Summit, including $72,000 to Karen Piper, a bystander who suffered permanent hearing loss after Pittsburgh police deployed a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) on a neighborhood street.
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week voted down legislation to mandate the collection of DNA from persons arrested for certain crimes without a court order. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania praised the House for its vote.