VICTORY: NOPD Calls Off “Informational” Checkpoints

Affiliate: ACLU of Louisiana
May 1, 2020 11:45 am

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NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Police Department has confirmed that it will end its so-called “informational” vehicle checkpoints, a victory for the ACLU of Louisiana and a coalition of community groups that had raised concerns about the constitutionality and effectiveness of such vehicle stops during a pandemic.

“Regardless of their intent, it was clear these checkpoints were imperiling people’s health and their constitutional rights with minimal benefit to public safety,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Stopping vehicles without reasonable suspicion of a crime raises serious 4th Amendment concerns, while putting police and the public at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. We’re glad NOPD listened to the community and called off this misguided and counterproductive approach that disproportionately targeted communities of color and needlessly threatened public health during a pandemic.”

The ACLU of Louisiana and its community partners had also communicated to NOPD that they believed the checkpoints ran afoul of several provisions of the federal Consent Decree, including the requirement that police need reasonable suspicion of a crime before stopping a vehicle and the provisions requiring bias-free policing.

The coalition letter sent yesterday to the federal consent decree monitor is available online here. The letter was signed by the ACLU of Louisiana, Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and endorsed by Community ReCallers, Court Watch NOLA, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Promise of Justice Initiative, Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana, Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), and Workers Center for Racial Justice.

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