Oh my, segregation and a demand to show “papers”, along with the constant milking of people of colour for cash, which helps to keep them in a cycle of poverty as well. Anyone surprised this is going on in Mississippi in 2017?
Madison County, Mississippi, is among the most segregated places in America. Past court decisions have made note of its “racial isolation” and “confluence of…geography and demography.”
Part of the reason the state’s wealthiest county remains so divided, according to a new class-action lawsuit filed Monday, is that county leaders want it that way — and are willing to use local law enforcement to enforce an unofficial cordon around the county’s roughly 40,000 black residents.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) “has implemented a coordinated top-down program of methodically targeting Black individuals for suspicionless searches and seizures,” the suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and pro-bono lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett says. The suit names 10 individual plaintiffs but seeks injunctive relief on behalf of “thousands of victims” of the county’s policies.
The roadblocks and checkpoints MCSD allegedly maintains are not like the random DUI stops many motorists have encountered here and there. Plainclothes deputies typically wait in unmarked cars, giving the stops an ambush feel at odds with the sirens-and-orange-cones officialdom of a typical checkpoint.
What’s more, the complaint says, the department locates these camouflaged identification inspections in and around the few communities in Madison County where there is a concentrated black population.
The alleged system requires African-American residents submit to unconstitutional searches and seizures as part of the normal course of going to and from their homes, which the suit argues is a violation of the Constitution as well as of their personal dignity.
“Forcing citizens of the United States to ‘show their papers’ in this fashion runs afoul of the law as well as the most basic norms of decency in domestic policing,” the suit says.
There’s much more to the story, click on over to Think Progress.