CRT Biweekly Newsletter May 06 2016

  • Following a comprehensive investigation, the Justice Department released its findings that South Dakota unnecessarily relies on nursing facilities to provide services to people with disabilities, in violation of the community integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C.
  • Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta and U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey issued statements regarding the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey’s approval of the Justice Department’s agreement with the city of Newark, New Jersey, to reform the police department’s unconstitutional practices.  Gupta said the agreement “will help the Newark Police Department reform policies, improve systems and rebuild trust between officers and the community they serve.”  Fishman said it “provides a roadmap for reform in Newark and a model for best practices for police departments across the country.”
  • The Justice Department announced that it has reached an agreement with the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to resolve alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for failing to provide access for individuals with disabilities at Mid-America Center, a multipurpose arena for basketball, hockey and concerts with 9,000 seats.
  • The Justice Department announced that the city of Beaumont, Texas, has agreed to pay $475,000 and change its zoning and land use practices to resolve a lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities who sought to live in small group homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods.
  • A Tennessee man was sentenced to 294 months in prison for his role in operating a sex trafficking scheme out of the Riviera Motel in New Orleans, using force and threats to compel multiple women to engage in prostitution for the defendants’ profit in New Orleans and elsewhere.
  • The Departments of Justice and Education entered into a voluntary settlement agreement with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The agreement requires ADE to raise its English proficiency criteria to properly identify English language learner (ELL) students in grades three through 12 and to properly determine when those students no longer need language services.
  • A North Carolina man was sentenced to life in prison for operating an extensive sex trafficking enterprise that recruited women and girls – some as young as 16 years old – into prostitution.
  • The Justice Department announced a settlement with the Columbia, South Carolina, Police Department (CPD) to ensure that persons who are deaf or hard of hearing receive sign language interpreters and other services necessary for effective communication when interacting with CPD police officers, whether on the road or at a precinct.
  • Vanita Gupta delivered remarks on policing, crisis intervention and mental health at the CIT International Conference in Chicago, highlighting how “crisis intervention models, when combined with de-escalation tactics, can increase the likelihood of safe outcomes in potentially dangerous situations.”
  • The Justice Department filed for contempt against Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman regarding his non-compliance with a consent decree governing conditions of confinement at the Orleans Parish Jail in New Orleans, and has requested that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana appoint a receiver with full authority to administer operations of the jail until compliance is achieved.
  • Two Kansas men were charged with federal hate crimes for attacking three Somali men because of their race and national origin.
  • The Justice Department announced that according to its comprehensive investigation, the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) handling of reports by students of sexual harassment – including sexual assault – fail to comply with federal law.  The investigation found that although UNM had strengthened its response to sexual harassment and sexual assault over the past year, it remains out of compliance with Title IX and Title IV in key respects. 
  • The Justice Department announced by letter to the Rhode Island Chief Justice the closure of its case concerning the provision of language assistance to individuals with limited English proficiency in the state court system following the successful implementation of reforms by the Rhode Island Judiciary.
  • The Justice Department settled a lawsuit against a West Virginia-based union for violating the reemployment rights of an Army National Guardsman.
  • U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry of the Eastern District of Missouri approved the Justice Department’s consent decree with the city of Ferguson, Missouri.  In a statement, Vanita Gupta said: “Now that the consent decree has been approved by the court, the department is looking forward to working with the city of Ferguson as it implements the decree and continues the essential work to create a police department that the Constitution requires and that residents deserve.”
  • A Missouri man pleaded guilty to the arson of a Joplin mosque and two attempted arsons of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Joplin.

Twitter: @CivilRightsAAG | @CivilRights

Updated December 28, 2016

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