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Constitutional Rights

Mass Surveillance Program Revealed By Snowden Was Illegal

Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful — and that the U.S. intelligence leaders who publicly defended it were not telling the truth. In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional.

Protesters Attacked By Police Are Suing To Vindicate Their Constitutional Rights

Protesters demonstrating against white supremacy and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s public lynching have been met with illegal repression by law enforcement. Police have utilized toxic chemical and sonic weapons, dangerous projectiles, intrusive surveillance, physical violence and “kettling” to trap demonstrators after dispersal orders are given. People are suing to protect their constitutional rights.Plaintiffs allege that police misconduct resulted in the violation of their First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They charge that the LAPD used “indiscriminate and unreasonable force against thousands of protesters” and used unreasonable and excessive force by hitting “at least close to a thousand protesters with batons and/or ‘rubbers bullets.’” Plaintiffs attest to being restrained with tight handcuffs, denied bathroom access and access to food or water, and provided insufficient ventilation during transport, making them vulnerable to COVID-19.

Protesters Attacked By Police Are Suing To Vindicate Their Constitutional Rights

Victims of police abuse are filing litigation, and at least one judge has put a halt to some of the most egregious misconduct. Plaintiffs allege that police misconduct resulted in the violation of their First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They charge that the LAPD used “indiscriminate and unreasonable force against thousands of protesters” and used unreasonable and excessive force by hitting “at least close to a thousand protesters with batons and/or ‘rubbers bullets.’” Plaintiffs attest to being restrained with tight handcuffs, denied bathroom access and access to food or water, and provided insufficient ventilation during transport, making them vulnerable to COVID-19.

Report: FBI Spying On Social Movements

The report exposes FBI political surveillance as systemic and part of a wider pattern of abuse, and documents how the FBI frequently cites its counterterrorism authorities when spying on non-violent protest groups. It also documents how the groups targeted by the FBI are frequently peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice advocates. It’s part of a broader problem where the FBI treats dissent as the enemy. And that’s not a new problem. As the report shows, from its inception the FBI has continuously engaged in this type of political surveillance. The Intercept shared the report with the FBI. The response was not surprising: After reviewing the report, a spokesperson for the FBI wrote in a statement to The Intercept that every activity the FBI conducts “must uphold the Constitution and be carried out in accordance with federal laws.” The spokesperson added that the bureau’s investigative activities “may not be based solely on the exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment” and that its methods “are subject to multiple layers of oversight.”

The Border Isn’t A Rights-Free Zone

An American family that underwent a harrowing detention at the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection can now seek some measure of justice. That’s the result of a recent ruling by the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit we filed on behalf of Abdisalam Wilwal, Sagal Abdigani, and their four young children after a brutal experience at the U.S.-Canada border. The Wilwal-Abdigani family was on the way home to the Minneapolis area from a trip to visit relatives in Canada when they pulled up to the border station at Portal, North Dakota. Shortly after they handed over their passports and birth certificates, CBP officers swarmed the family’s minivan with guns drawn, forced the father out of the car, and handcuffed him.
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