Madison County Sheriff responds to ACLU lawsuit - - Jackson, MS

Madison County Sheriff responds to ACLU lawsuit

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
MADISON COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker is refusing to keep silent as the ACLU hurls allegations of misconduct and targeting of minorities.

READ MORE: Sheriff responds after ACLU sues Madison Co. Sheriff's Dept. for racial profiling

The ACLU's opening statement charges that the Madison County Sheriff's Department "methodically target[s] black individuals for  suspicion-less searches and seizures while driving their cars, walking in their neighborhoods, and spending time in their own homes"...and also "frequently use[s] unjustified and excessive force."

The lawsuit features ten plaintiffs who testify that MCSO used vehicular roadblocks, pedestrian checkpoints, warrant-less and consent-less searches on homes, and "jump out patrols" of deputies in unmarked cars and out of uniform.

Sheriff Tucker responded to each allegation and each plaintiff individually, denying every complaint and listing a series of 47 defenses.

On "Roadblocks": The Sheriff maintains checkpoints are set up almost equally in the Southern, predominantly white area of the county, as they are in the Northern portion, which has an African American majority.

For "Suspicion-less Searches and Seizures", the defense responded to one of the plaintiffs, Steven Smith, who said he was arrested after deputies with no probable cause searched him, and found he had overdue fines and court fees.

But the Sheriff explains, the manager of the apartment complex where the incident occurred asked deputies to do a walk-through patrol that led to Smith's arrest, and the arrest of a man walking with Smith, who was carrying a gun with no concealed weapons permit.

The ACLU says that in Madison County, 73% of arrests are made on African Americans, despite only 38% of the population being black, but the Sheriff points out that the unincorporated area his department actually deals with has a fairly equal racial makeup, so the statistics the ACLU provided are unfair and irrelevant. 

Another important note is that the Sheriff claims many of the walking patrols and roadblocks were only conducted at the request of the apartment complexes, housing projects, and businesses where some of these incidents took place. 

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