Tucked into one line of Amendment 3, a tobacco tax-early childhood education funding initiative on Missouri’s ballot November 8, is a dangerous clause that could destroy the rights of Missourians to be free from forced support of religious institutions and activities.
“In one hidden line, the makers of Amendment 3 are undermining our American ideal of protecting religion and democracy,” said ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman. “Amendment 3 is a dangerous Trojan Horse that violates the constitutional rights of all Missourians.”
The ACLU of Missouri has filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the Kansas City Public Schools on behalf of a child who was handcuffed by an elementary school resource officer in 2014.
Kalyb Wiley Primm, 7, was handcuffed for more than 15 minutes while waiting in the principal’s office for a parent to arrive after he was removed from class, handcuffed, and pushed down a hallway after he cried out in response to being bullied in his classroom. At the time, he stood less than 4 feet tall and weighed less than 50 pounds.
“This child committed no crime, threatened no one, and posed no danger to anyone,” said ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert. “Gratuitously handcuffing children is cowardly and violates the constitution.”
The ACLU of Missouri filed a complaint in federal court today challenging the Missouri Department of Corrections' process for selecting witnesses for executions.
Since he applied to witness a Missouri execution in January 2014, investigative journalist Christopher S. McDaniel has yet to receive a response to his application from the Missouri Department of Corrections, effectively denying him the opportunity to witness any of the 17 executions that the state has carried out since he submitted his application.
The request approval is solely at the discretion of the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.
"The Missouri Department of Corrections has shown a disturbing pattern of behavior that's been keeping the public from knowing about its unsavory and possibly illegal practices related to the death penalty," said Tony Rothert, legal director for ACLU of Missouri. "Execution witnesses are an important check to ensure the department does not abuse its power. That check does not work when the Department can choose to exclude anyone critical of its behavior." Read more.
A federal judge ruled today that the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s process for electing school board members violates the Voting Rights Act and can no longer continue until the process is changed. The decision today came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.
In December, the ACLU of Missouri filed a federal lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant School District, on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and African-American residents, charging that the district's electoral system locked African-Americans out of the political process through the at-large system that dilutes African-American voting strength.
“The ongoing effects of racial discrimination have long plagued the region, and the District in particular, have affected the ability of African Americans to participate equally in the political process,” wrote U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel in the decision. Read more.