A federal judge has approved a lawsuit agreement over racial profiling by a sheriff's department that puts unbias policing policies in place. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Under the consent decree the Madison County Sheriff's Department must put new rules in place for traffic checkpoints, vehicle and pedestrian stops, provide bias training and create a community advisory board. Private attorneys and lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union argued officers racially profiled African Americans including setting up roadblocks near 14 complexes which is unconstitutional. Attorney Jonathan Youngwood with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
"This settlement will take Madison County a long way. But it's going to be dependent on the people of Madison County and specifically the sheriff's department of Madison County to carry it out. And we believe they will do that. We believe they will act in good faith. The settlement is based on the assumption of good faith," said Youngwood
Khadafy Manning of Canton, is one of eight plaintiffs who sued the sheriff's department in 2017. He has a spinal cord injury and walks with a cane. He says deputies came to his home several years ago, demanding he write a statement saying his neighbor committed a crime. He says officers put him in a patrol car in his underwear and beat him. Khadafy signed the statement.
"I'm really humiliated in public and everybody's seeing this just because of me not writing a statement for something I really didn't witness," said Manning.
Attorneys for Madison County say the allegations weren't proven, but they settled to reduce risk to the office, save time and money. During yesterday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves questioned the request to keep the monetary settlement confidential. Attorneys for Madison County said the funds include private monies. Reeves says he'll have to think about that portion of the agreement because the sheriff's department is a public body. The consent decree last four years.