Arrest and Detention: News and Publications

NYC Pays 450K Settlement to Prisoner Assaulted by Rikers Guards

On August 31, 2015, New York City agreed to pay a $450,000 settlement to Robert Hinton, who in 2012 was subjected to a brutal beating by five corrections officers and their captain in a solitary confinement unit for men classified as mentally ill at the Rikers Island jail complex. The aggressors beat Hinton's face so severely that his nose was broken and his eyes swollen shut; after their attempts to cover up the beating did not meet with success, they were fired this past January.

California Settlement Ends Indeterminate Solitary Confinement Statewide

On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, a settlement was reached in the federal class action Ashker v. Governor of California brought on behalf of prisoners held in long term solitary confinement at California's Pelican Bay prison. Prior to the settlement, state prisoners could be subjected to an indeterminate term of solitary confinement based solely on their identification as gang affiliates.

Settlement of $1.6M in Los Angeles Men's Central Jail Suicide Suit

On September 1, Los Angeles County approved a $1.6M settlement to be paid to the family of Austin Losorelli, 23, who committed suicide in the Men's Central Jail in 2013. Despite their awareness of his history of mental illness and attempted suicide, jail mental health workers and other staff repeatedly failed to place him in appropriate mental health housing; he was instead placed in a single-man cell, where he hung himself. His suicide was one of 10 at the jail in 2013 alone.

$1.1M Settlement for Los Angeles Plaintiffs in Car Dwelling Suit

On August 19, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $1.1 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit filed in support of four homeless people cited and arrested in 2010 during an area crackdown on people living in their cars.

The 1983 city law providing the legal basis for the crackdown specified that "no person shall use a vehicle parked or standing upon any City street or upon any parking lot owned by the City of Los Angeles ... as living quarters either overnight, day-by-day, or otherwise."

NYC Agrees to Settle “Central Park 5” Suit for $40 Million

Five men, who were exonerated in 2002 after being convicted and imprisoned for a highly sensationalized crime, agreed to a settlement of $40 million from New York City to resolve a long-fought civil rights lawsuit.

The lawsuit had accused the city’s police and prosecutors of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive the men of their civil rights, allegations which former long-term NYC Mayor Bloomberg denied and fought vigorously for more than a decade in federal court.

The War on Marijuana in Black and White

American Civil Liberties Union
This report is the first to examine marijuana possession arrest rates by race for all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) and their respective counties from 2001 to 2010. The report relies on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the United States Census’ annual county population estimates to document arrest rates by race per 100,000 for marijuana possession. 
The report finds that between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million marijuana arrests in the United States, 88% of which were for possession. Marijuana arrests have increased between 2001 and 2010 and now account for over half (52%) of all drug arrests in the United States, and marijuana possession arrests account for nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests. In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 37 seconds, and states spent combined over $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws. 
The report also finds that, on average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates. Such racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist in all regions of the country, in counties large and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, and with large and small Black populations. Indeed, in over 96% of counties with more than 30,000 people in which at least 2% of the residents are Black, Blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites for marijuana possession. 
The report concludes in sum that it is time to end marijuana arrests.

Jury awards $1 million to family of Chicago woman who died in cell at police precinct

The woman, May Molina, was represented by NPAP members at the law firm of Loevy & Loevy.

In 2004, Molina, a community activist with asthma and diabetes, was arrested during a police raid and held at the North Side Town Hall district police station.  Officers repeatedly ignored warnings from Molina's lawyer, several family members who called in, and Molina herself that she was seriously ill and needed medical help.  She had been in custody at the police station without medical assistance for more than 24 hours at the time of her death, medical records show.

Transgender Woman settles Lawsuit with City of Boston

The City of Boston will pay $20,000 to Brenda Wernikoff, a transgender woman, who was arrested at a homeless shelter after she refused to leave a woman's bathroom.  In addition, the incident triggered an internal investigation into the arresting officers and put the Boston Police Department on notice that it needs to train all its officers on how to interact with the transgender community.

Wernikoff, who was represented by NPAP members Howard Friedman and David Milton, said that she was not just arrested, but humiliated and laughed at by the officers who booked her.