The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit over a 2010 “gang sweep” at West High School in Salt Lake City, during which between 14 and 40 students of color were detained, questioned, and falsely accused of being gang members. The federal lawsuit names as defendants the police departments for Salt Lake City, West Jordan, and West Valley cities, the Unified Police Department’s Metro Gang Unit, Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City School District officials.
The suit was filed on behalf of the father of one of the students detained during the sweep. The ACLU’s complaint states that a gang task force of 16 officers interrogated students at West High School in December 2010 and put information about them in a gang database that potentially could subject them to additional police scrutiny. The complaint also says police denied students’ requests to call their parents or leave the room. It also alleges that the district’s anti-gang policy is unconstitutionally vague.
A police spokesman said at the time that the school had asked the city’s gang unit for help because of an increase of graffiti and “gang attire” at the campus, and the officers’ goal was to make contact with students and steer them in the right direction.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, 12/13/12, By Brooke Adams
[Editor's Note: In April 2012, Legal Clips summarized an article in the Glendale News-Press, which reported that the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU-SCA) had entered into preliminary negotiations with the City of Glendale and the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) regarding a lawsuit alleging racial profiling of Latino students at Hoover High School. In October 2011, the ACLU-SCA filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging that dozens of Latino students were detained and searched during lunch on Sept. 24, 2010. The students claimed they were intimidated and interrogated about any gang affiliations, and were ordered to stop hanging out with one another at lunch. According to the lawsuit, students allegedly targeted in the roundup were kept for about an hour in two separate classrooms, where they were frisked and questioned by Glendale and Los Angeles police officers about possible gang ties.]