FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
CIVIL RIGHTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVING AND INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST POLICE
DEPARTMENTS BY TAKING A COOPERATIVE APPROACH:
- Historic Settlement Agreement in Cincinnati. A historic settlement
was reached with the Cincinnati Police Department on April 12, 2002, less than
one year after the City was engulfed in riots. Attorney General Ashcroft and
Assistant Attorney General Boyd traveled to Cincinnati to meet with community
leaders and sign a landmark agreement between the Department of Justice and
the City. The agreement substantially reforms policing practices in
Cincinnati, including those involving the use of force which were of
particular concern to the community groups involved in the collaborative
process and was approved by the City Council, hailed as a major achievement by
the Mayor of Cincinnati, community activists, the ACLU, the Cincinnati NAACP
and accepted by the Cincinnati Police command staff and the local police
union. In the intervening months, the parties have worked cooperatively to
select a monitor and the City is making progress with implementing reforms
negotiated for in the settlement agreement.
- The Civil Rights Division Successfully Reached 7 Settlement Agreements of
Pattern or Practice Police Misconduct Investigations over the Last Two Years
Compared to 3 During the Previous Two Years. Since 2001, the Division has
reached settlements resolving major police misconduct investigations with the
Washington, D.C. Police Department and the Buffalo, New York Police
Department. The Division has also settled a long-standing lawsuit against the
Columbus, Ohio Division of Police, and a federal court approved the Division’s
agreement releasing the Pittsburgh Police Bureau from the majority of our
consent decree after strengthening police misconduct remedial measures. In
addition, the Division reached an out of court settlement regarding the Mt.
Prospect, Illinois Police Department in January of 2003. Most recently, in
June of 2003, the Division filed a complaint and moved for entry of a consent
decree regarding police practices in United States v. City of Detroit.
- New Investigations Opened. The Civil Rights Division has opened 4 new
pattern or practice investigations thus far in 2003 and 5 new investigations
in 2002, compared to 3 in 2001 and 4 in 2000. Since 2001, the Division has
opened new police misconduct investigations in Cincinnati, Ohio; Schenectady,
New York; Portland, Maine; Miami, Florida; Providence, Rhode Island;
Cleveland, Ohio; and Alabaster, Alabama. The Division has also continued its
investigations into police misconduct matters in New Orleans, Louisiana;
Prince George’s County, Maryland; Riverside, California; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
COMBATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING AS A TOP PRIORITY:
- Prosecutions: The Justice Department has successfully charged, convicted,
or secured sentences for 106 human traffickers in 32 cases since January of
2001. Of these cases, those involving sex trafficking and abuse have
resulted in charges, convictions, or secured sentences for 72 traffickers in
1)Hawaii: In the largest human trafficking prosecution in history, a
garment factory owner and four coconspirators in Samoa were charged with
enslaving over 200 Vietnamese and Chinese workers who had been threatened,
assaulted, denied food and held in a guarded compound to keep them compliant.
The owner has been convicted after trial and two co-conspirators have pled
guilty (U.S. v. Kil Soo Lee). Sentencing is scheduled to occur on December 15,
2) New Jersey: Five defendants pleaded guilty to sex trafficking
charges for conspiring to lure and transport young Mexican girls into the
United States under false pretenses and force them into prostitution. Three of
the five defendants will be sentenced on August 7, 2003. A sentencing hearing
for the two remaining defendants has not yet been set. A sixth defendant
pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice. (U.S. v. Jimenez-Calderon).
3) Maryland: After a recent successful trial by the U.S. Attorney’s
Office and the Civil Rights Division, two defendants were sentenced to nearly
ten years in prison and three years supervised release for holding a teenage
Cameroonian girl in involuntary servitude as their domestic servant. The
defendants were also ordered to pay a total of $105,306 in restitution to the
Investigations: The Justice Department Brought 76 New Human Trafficking
Charges During FY 2001 and 2002, Three Times as Many as The Previous Two
Fiscal Years When 25 Were Charged. Thus far in FY 2003, the Department has
brought charges against 15 trafficking defendants. In addition, the Department
has approximately 122 human trafficking investigations pending, nearly twice
as many as in January of 2001.
- Largest Training Held by Federal Prosecutors and Investigators. The
Department of Justice conducted the largest ever anti-trafficking training for
federal prosecutors and agents in October 2002 at the Department’s training
facility in South Carolina.
- Help for Victims. To implement the Trafficking Victims Protection Act
of 2000, the Justice Department issued the “T visa” regulation in January
2002, which enables certain trafficking victims to live and work legally in
the United States for three years while their cases are investigated and
prosecuted. In July 2001, the Justice Department issued a regulation to
provide enhanced protection of trafficking victims. Since passage of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Justice Department has worked
with HHS to certify over 300 trafficking victims, allowing them to receive
federal and state benefits and services including employment authorization,
housing, and medical care.
ACTIVELY PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS:
- The Civil Rights Division opened 38 new facility investigations during
the Bush Administration under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Person Act
(CRIPA), compared to 19 opened during the final two years of the previous
Administration, against various correctional facilities. These
investigations involved a range of issues such as medical care, fire safety,
environmental conditions, sexual misconduct, and the use of excessive force
against inmates. In FY 2002 alone, the Division was involved in over 173 CRIPA
matters in 33 states, opening 21 new facility investigations, conducting 130
monitoring and compliance tours, and implementing settlement and consent
decrees involving 99 facilities.
WORKING TO CLOSE THE EDUCATION GAP:
- The Civil Rights Division Continues to Work Cooperatively with Local
Jurisdictions to Help Foster Compliance with Existing Consent Decrees, to
Resolve Longstanding Desegregation Cases, and to Reduce Barriers to Quality
Education for All Children, Especially Those in Historically Troubled
Jurisdictions. These programs are intended to help narrow the “achievement
gap” between disadvantaged and other students.
- During the Bush Administration the Division Has Sent 78 Case Review
Letters to School Districts to Ensure Compliance with Existing Desegregation
Orders, Over Two and a Half Times as Many as Were Sent (29) During the Final
Two Years of the Previous Administration.
- Settled a 25-Year Old Lawsuit in Mississippi for $500 Million to Benefit
Traditional Black Colleges. On April 23, 2001, the Civil Rights Division
and a group of Mississippi plaintiffs settled – for $500 million – a 25-year
old lawsuit that was brought to desegregate Mississippi's higher education
system. The bulk of that money will go to improving the curricula and physical
facilities at traditional black colleges in Mississippi.
- Settled a Two Decade-Old Lawsuit in New York for $300 Million to Benefit
Education. On January 31, 2002, Assistant Attorney General Boyd executed a
settlement agreement on behalf of the United States with the State of New
York, the City of Yonkers, the Yonkers Board of Education, and the Yonkers
NAACP. The agreement marked the successful conclusion to a two decade-old
desegregation lawsuit brought against Yonkers, New York, and the Yonkers
school board by the Department of Justice and the NAACP. Under the terms of
the agreement, the state will provide $300 million over five years. The school
board will use that money to fund and implement 40 new or existing educational
programs aimed at narrowing the performance gap between minority and
non-minority students, and to improve the educational opportunities of all of
the children of Yonkers.
REMOVING BARRIERS TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES THROUGH INNOVATIVE
- Project Civic Access. As part of President George Bush’s New Freedom
Initiative, an initiative designed to improve the lives and opportunities for
Americans with Disabilities, the Division has negotiated and entered into
agreements with over 30 governmental units nationwide. These agreements will
ensure that state and local governments comply with the ADA and that people
with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life by
making accessible public facilities such as city and town halls, courthouses,
libraries, polling places, police stations, and parks. Some of the
jurisdictions entering agreements include Flagstaff, Arizona; Fairbanks,
Alaska; Seaside, California; Savannah, Georgia; Warren County, Illinois;
Brookline, Massachusetts; and San Antonio, Texas.
- Formal Settlement Agreements Reached: The Civil Rights Division has
almost doubled the number of formal Settlements reached (97) during the Bush
Administration than were reached (52) during the final two years of the
- Mediation Program. The Division’s innovative ADA mediation program
expands voluntary compliance with the ADA at a minimum expense to the
government. During the Bush Administration the Division has referred more
complaints to mediation (around 1247) and successfully resolved more
complaints through mediation (around 585) than during the final two years of
the previous administration (roughly 567 and 335, respectively).
- Looking for Solutions to Assist Persons with Disabilities to Access the
Workforce. The Division has spearheaded a program called ADA Business
Connection, a dialogue between senior business leaders and disability advocacy
groups in an effort to achieve sensible solutions to problems associated with
access and work issues facing disabled Americans.
- Assisting Persons with Disabilities to Achieve Better Community Life.
The Division is working with state and local governments to implement
Executive Order 13217 and the 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. United States Supreme
Court decision, which require states to place individuals with disabilities in
community settings rather than institutions, where placement is appropriate
and reasonable, in order to provide them with greater access to community
- Assisting Persons with Disabilities with Housing Opportunities.
During the Bush Administration, the Division has filed 21 lawsuits alleging
FHA design and construction violations against owners, architects, and
builders of multifamily housing. Ten of these cases have already been settled
through consent decrees. In one other case, the Division obtained a
preliminary injunction halting construction of new multi-family housing that
violated the FHA requirements.
ENSURING EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES:
- The Division Continued Its Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunities by
Authorizing a Consistent Number of New Lawsuits – 9 in 2002 Compared to 8 in
2001 and 8 in 2000 – and by Continuing to Investigate New Cases at a
Substantially Higher Rate Than in the Final Year of the Previous
Administration – 27 new cases so far in 2003, 41 New Cases in 2002, and 51 in
2001 compared to 17 in 2000.
- The Division Has Also Successfully Resolved 20 Cases or Matters Involving
Unlawful Discrimination under Title VII Based on Race, National Origin, Sex,
and Religion Since the Beginning of the Bush Administration. They include:
1) On June 30, 2003, the Division resolved a lawsuit against the University of
Guam in which it was alleged that the University discriminated against eleven
former employees on the basis of their race and national origin. The alleged
victims of unlawful discrimination were Filipino American, African American,
American Indian and Caucasian. In addition to injunctive relief, the Division
obtained $775,000 in monetary relief for the individuals;
2) In January of 2003, the Division successfully settled a racial
discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the city of Fort Lauderdale,
Florida for a total of $455,000 in victim's compensatory damages. The lawsuit
alleged that the city of Fort Lauderdale violated Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, by denying an African-American employee, Elgin O. Jones,
promotion to the position of Engineering Inspector I because of his race. The
lawsuit further alleged that the city retaliated against Mr. Jones when he
complained that he had been denied promotion for discriminatory reasons;
3) In February of 2003, the Division settled an employment discrimination
lawsuit filed against the New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority. The
Division alleged that the Waste Authority discriminated against women,
Hispanics and Native Americans, by permitting racial and sexual harassment.
The Division obtained $148,000 in monetary relief for four victims of alleged
sexual and racial harassment, as well as changes to the employer's employment
4) In 2001, the Division obtained a supplemental consent order in the
Milwaukee Fire Department case where the Division secured $1.8 million in back
pay and 40 jobs for African-American victims of hiring discrimination; and
5) The Division obtained a settlement with the City of Newark regarding a case
involving religious discrimination directed at Muslim police officers.
ACTIVELY PROTECTING HOUSING, CREDIT, AND PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION RIGHTS:
- The Civil Rights Division Continued Its Commitment to Ensuring Equal
Opportunities in Housing, Lending, and Public Accommodations by Initiating 51
New Lawsuits in 2002 Compared to 45 in 2001, 46 in 2000, and 46 in 1999.
The Division also increased its rate of obtaining consent decrees from 39 in
2000 and 40 in 2001 to 43 in 2002. Assistant Attorney General Boyd also
authorized an additional 13 lawsuits that are in pre-suit negotiations at the
end of his tenure as Assistant Attorney General.
1) Examples of significant victories include a $451,208 verdict against a
landlord in Mississippi who sexually harassed a number of his female tenants;
a consent decree that provides for $300,000 in damages and civil penalties
against the owner of a mobile home park in Kansas who sexually harassed female
tenants, many of whom were the wives of men stationed at the nearby army base;
a settlement agreement with the owners of a Virginia club that denied access
to a Sikh Muslim man on the same basis as white, non-Muslim patrons; and two
consent decrees against nightclub owners in Kansas and Alabama who denied
black patrons access to the clubs on the same basis as whites.
2) Another significant victory was a recent consent decree providing for more
than $700,000 in retrofitting, damages, and civil penalties against defendants
in Kansas who violated the requirement that new multi-family housing be
designed and constructed in a manner accessible to persons with disabilities.
ENGAGING IN PROSECUTIONS AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES IN RESPONSE TO THE
TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH:
- Prosecuting Backlash Discrimination: The Division, FBI, and United States
Attorneys’ Offices Have Investigated Approximately 500 Incidents of Backlash
Discrimination since September 11, 2001. There have been 13 federal
prosecutions of 18 defendants to date – with a 100% conviction rate so far. In
addition, the Justice Department has coordinated and/or provided assistance in
approximately 100 additional state and local cases. All of these cases involve
alleged discriminatory backlash crimes against individuals perceived to be of
Middle-Eastern origin, including Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, Sikh
Americans, and South-Asian Americans.
1) For example, on August 23, 2002, in the Middle District of Florida, the
United States filed a criminal complaint against Robert Goldstein under 26
U.S.C. 5861 and 18 U.S.C. 844(i) for plotting to destroy the Islamic Center of
St Petersburg, Florida. On April 3, 2003, Robert Goldstein pled guilty to
violating 18 U.S.C. 241, 844(i) and 26 U.S.C. 5861. Goldstein's wife, Kristi
Goldstein, pled guilty to violating 26 U.S.C. 5861 on February 26, 2003 and
was sentenced to 37 months incarceration on June 13, 2003. Michael Hardee pled
guilty on October 9, 2002 to a civil rights conspiracy in violation 18 U.S.C.
241 for his role as driver in the plot and on May 1, 2003, Hardee was
sentenced to 41 months in prison and fined $10,000. A fourth defendant, Val
Shannahan, was arrested on September 26, 2002 and charged with one count of
violating 26 U.S.C. §5861. Shannahan pled guilty to the charge on April 16,
2) On December 12, 2001, in the Central District of California, the United
States filed a criminal complaint against Irving David Rubin and Earl Leslie
Krugel pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 371, 844, and 924 for conspiring to damage and
destroy, by means of an explosive, the King Fahd mosque and for possessing an
explosive bomb to carry out the conspiracy. On January 10, 2002, Rubin and
Krugel were indicted under 18 U.S.C. 371, 2332, 844, 924, 373, 922, and 5861,
which additionally included charges related to the defendants' alleged
attempts to damage and destroy, by means of an explosive, the office of the
Muslim Public Affairs Council and the district office of U.S. Representative
Darrell Issa. On November 13, 2002, Rubin died from self-inflicted wounds
while incarcerated. Krugel pled guilty.
- Bringing Communities Together: In addition to the more than 250 town
and community meetings conducted by the Department, Assistant Attorney General
Boyd has spoken out against violence and threats against individuals perceived
to be of a certain race, religion, or national origin, and he has met
approximately 25 times with leaders of Arab-American, Muslim-American,
Sikh-American, and South-Asian American organizations. He has also given
several speeches to organizations representing the interests of these affected
people and their communities.
- Launching an Initiative Against Backlash Discrimination. Assistant
Attorney General Boyd established a post-September 11 Backlash Discrimination
Initiative within the Civil Rights Division’s National Origin Working Group.
- Community Forums Across the Nation. In FY 02 the Civil Rights Division
held six forums: Chicago, Illinois; Dearborn, Michigan; Arlington, Virginia;
Phoenix, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas. In FY 03, the Civil
Rights Division held forums in Seattle, Washington, and Las Vegas, Nevada, and
is planning to hold forums in Minneapolis, Boston, New York, and New Jersey.
PROSECUTING BIAS-MOTIVATED CRIMES AND CRIMINAL DEPRIVATIONS OF CIVIL
- The Civil Rights Division Charged More Defendants (316) and Successfully
Prosecuted More Defendants (243) for Criminal Civil Rights Violations During
the First Two Years of the Bush Administration than Were Charged (260) and
Successfully Prosecuted (210) During the Final Two Years of the Previous
Administration. Halfway through the third year of the Bush Administration,
an additional 62 defendants have been charged and 63 defendants have been
1) U.S. v. Waldon, et al. (M.D. FL) On January 27, 2003, defendant Karl T.
Waldon, a deputy sheriff with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department, was
sentenced to multiple terms of life imprisonment after his convictions for
various civil rights and obstruction charges. As one example, Waldon knew from
a co-conspirator that Sami Safar, a Jacksonville convenience store owner,
would be carrying a large amount of cash. While in uniform and driving his
marked police car, Waldon turned on his emergency lights and pulled over Mr.
Safar. Waldon then handcuffed Safar, placed him in the back of the police car,
drove him to an isolated location, strangled him with a rope, dumped the body
in a wooded area, and stole the $50,000 carried by the victim. Waldon
conspired with other deputy sheriffs and civilians to commit this murder as
well as other robberies, burglaries, thefts and drug offenses against
residents of the Jacksonville area. Three other deputy sheriffs and three
civilians have also pled guilty to various charges in this case.
- The Division Also Increased Its Enforcement Activity with Respect to Non
Color-of-Law Criminal Civil Rights Violations (Not Including Individual Police
Misconduct Cases) such as Bias and Hate Crimes (Including Trafficking and FACE
Actions), Filing Cases Against More Defendants (66) in FY 2002 and FY 2001
(94) than in FY 2000 (56). Thus Far During FY 2003, Charges Have Been Brought
Against 53 Defendants.
1) On February 28, 2003, the Division secured a conviction against Ernest
Henry Avants for aiding and abetting in the 1966 murder of Ben Chester White,
an elderly African American farm worker in Mississippi who, because of the
victim’s race and efforts to bring the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to the
area, was lured into a national forest and shot multiple times including a
shotgun blast to his head.
2) On February 6, 2003, four defendants, including two members of the Imperial
Klan of America, pled guilty to criminal civil rights charges in Kentucky for
a series of racially motivated acts of violence directed against an African
American family. The defendants repeatedly hurled racial epithets at the
family while breaking windows and smashing a porch light with a baseball bat.
Additionally, the defendants attacked one of the teenage children, severely
beating him when he went outside to investigate two broken windows at his
3) Five members of the Ku Klux Klan in Louisiana were recently sentenced to
terms ranging from 12 to 157 months in prison for violating federal criminal
civil rights statutes as a result of burning a 3 foot by 5 foot cross in the
yard of three African Americans who recently moved to the area.
ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH THE LANGUAGE MINORITY PROVISIONS OF THE VOTING
- Massive Outreach Campaign. Since July 26, 2002, when the new Section
203 jurisdiction determinations were certified based on the results of the
2000 census, the Division has conducted a massive outreach campaign with state
and local election officials and local language minority groups to ensure
access to bilingual voting materials for language minority groups (primarily
Spanish and American Indian/Alaska Native) covered under Section 203 of the
Voting Rights Act. The outreach campaign included a July 26, 2002 letter from
Assistant Attorney General Boyd to each of the 296 political jurisdictions
covered by Section 203 notifying them of their bilingual access obligations
under Section 203 in the upcoming and future elections. In addition, Division
attorneys conducted comprehensive in-person meetings with state and local
election officials and local language minority groups in almost all of the
more than 80 newly covered Section 203 jurisdictions. Under the current
Section 203 determinations, Spanish is the most-covered language minority
group (219 political subdivisions), followed by American Indian/Alaska Native
(85), Chinese (12), Filipino (6), Vietnamese (4), Korean (3), and Japanese
ACTIVELY ENFORCING THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965:
- Sending Hundreds of Observers and Attorneys to Monitor Elections.
During the 2002 election and as part of the Attorney General’s Voting
Integrity/Ballot Access Initiative, the Division coordinated and sent 324
federal election observers and 108 Department attorneys to 26 counties in 14
states to monitor the general election and to ensure access to the polls.
Division personnel were also available to receive complaints by phone through
a toll-free number.
- Reviewing More Section 5 Submissions. The Division received more
Section 5 Voting Rights Act total submissions (11,783) and redistricting
submissions (2339) over the first two years and four months of the Bush
Administration than during the final two years and four months of the prior
administration (10,282 and 162, respectively). In addition, the Division
pre-cleared more redistricting submissions (2066) and filed more objections
(25) than were pre-cleared (148) and objected to (5) during the same time
- The Division Continues Its Vigorous Enforcement of Section 2 of The Voting
Rights Act to Ensure Minority Voters Are Not Excluded from the Electoral
Process and Have Fair Opportunity to Elect Candidates of Their Choice.
1) In March of 2003 in United Sates v. Charleston County, SC, the Division
prevailed in a case alleging that Charleston County improperly diluted the
voting strength of African American voters by maintaining an at-large voting
system in a manner which violated Section 2. The Court is now considering an
2) In United States v. Berks County, PA, the Division won a preliminary
injunction in a case alleging that Berks County had denied Hispanic voters an
equal chance to participate in the political process based on treatment at the
polls in violation of Section 2, and in failing to provide appropriate
language assistance in violation of Section 203. The Court is now considering
appropriate permanent relief.
3) In United States v. Blaine County, MT, the Division prevailed at trial,
alleging that Blaine County improperly diluted the voting strength of
Native-American voters by maintaining an at-large voting system in a manner
that violated Section 2. The case is pending on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
Actively Enforcing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
- The Division Has Opened 12 Investigations under RLUIPA, the Statute
Recently Enacted by Congress to Protect Houses of Worship and Religious
Schools from Discriminatory and Unjustifiably Burdensome Zoning
Regulations. The investigations have been undertaken in response to
complaints by a Muslim school, a Buddhist temple, a black church in a
predominantly white suburb, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, and churches of
various Christian denominations. One lawsuit has been filed and four of these
cases have already resulted in favorable outcomes.
ASSISTING PERSONS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY (LEP):
- The Division Has Taken Significant Steps to Implement Executive Order
13166. The Executive Order requires each federal agency to prepare a plan
to improve access to its federally conducted programs and activities by
eligible LEP persons, and it requires each federal agency that provides
financial assistance to draft guidance on how their recipients can provide
meaningful access to LEP persons. In addition, the Division won its motion to
dismiss a lawsuit filed in federal district court seeking to invalidate EO
13166 and will continue to vigorously defend EO 13166 in the pending appeal.
SUCCESSFULLY AND VIGOROUSLY DEFENDING ANTI-DISCRIMINATION STATUTES BY
REPEATEDLY INTERVENING IN CASES WHERE CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS ARE RAISED:
- For example, the Division has defended 11th Amendment challenges to Title VI
and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Equal
Pay Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and has been, with
limited exceptions, very successful in this important endeavor.