Police And Race Top Concerns On ACLU Listening Tour | WGLT

Police And Race Top Concerns On ACLU Listening Tour

Nov 29, 2017

The head of the ACLU of Illinois says racially imbalanced police enforcement is a problem statewide.

Appearing on GLT's Sound Ideas, Colleen Connell said that is emerging as a consistent issue during an ACLU listening tour that included Bloomington-Normal on Wednesday evening. She said particularly different between whites and blacks is marijuana enforcement.

"We were presented with data in one of the communities we visited where young black men were cited for jaywalking or walking in the street when a sidewalk was available," said Connell.

She said those pre-textual stops are especially revealing of racial disparity in enforcement. She said consistent fair law enforcement should not be a partisan issue.

The Illinois law requiring police agencies to collect racial data on stops, searches, and contraband found is set to expire next year. The ACLU wants it renewed.

Connell also said the courts have yet to speak on a wide range of issues regarding technology and privacy. One of those involves a Supreme Court case to decide whether police can access cell phone GPS data without a warrant.
Defenders of the practice say it's similar to asking someone where they have been. Connell said there is a big difference.

"But a person also has the right to decline under the Fifth Amendment to provide information about their whereabouts. Our Constitution, the Fourth and Fifth Amendment were really set up to provide individuals protection against government surveillance and government overreach," said Connell.

Connell noted if the government wanted a landline search it would need a warrant. She said the form of the technology should not change privacy and due process protections.

In Illinois a warrant is required to get GPS data from cell phone companies.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.