By Riley Lehren-Chavez
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab has “secured $500,000 for victims of racist policing and their families,” according to a statement released last week.
According to the ACLU, the Justice Lab was created in the wake of the fateful June 2020 murder of George Floyd, and has since been working to “hold law enforcement accountable for violent and racially discriminatory policing practices and police violence against people of color in Louisiana.”
Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana executive director, said, “We are extremely proud of the steadfastness and success of the Justice Lab team over the past three years. Our work is not finished. We will continue to hold state agencies accountable for police violence and misconduct. All Louisiana residents deserve to feel safe—not targeted—in their encounters with law enforcement.”
Justice Lab has been delivering consistent wins for its clients, according to the ACLU of Louisiana’s website, noting wins for these victims: Caddo (Kennedy), DeSoto (Hinson), East Feliciana (Harveston, White), Jefferson (Decquir, Suggs), Lafourche (Jackson), Orleans (Celestine), Morehouse (Olive), and Tangipahoa (Watkins).
Additionally, Justice Lab has just settled its 11th lawsuit involving Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which the ACLU said was sued for “engaging in a pattern of negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of its officers.”
According to the ACLU, “the lawsuit was brought on behalf of Frances Tapps, a Kenner resident who went into premature labor following an unconstitutional seizure by a JPSO officer at her home.”
“Ms. Tapps has dealt with what no mother or pregnant person should have to deal with,” said Nora Ahmed, ACLU of Louisiana legal director.
“While a settlement can never make someone whole, it is a step in the right direction. Pattern or practice claims against police departments are extraordinarily difficult to overcome, particularly in the Fifth Circuit, where we practice law. Developing good case law has long been a key goal of Justice Lab, and we were able to secure that outcome in Ms. Tapps’ case,” said Ahmed.