Court allows lawsuit against predictive policing to proceed
A U.S. district court judge has ruled that a lawsuit against Pasco County, Florida’s sheriff’s office and its use of predictive policing may proceed. It’s a preliminary, procedural win against a program that has systematically and intentionally harassed people and trampled their rights in the name of “public safety.”
As Reason’s Billy Binion writes:
…the [sheriff’s office] sought to have the suit dismissed on a litany of different grounds, a federal judge struck each down in a ruling…allowing the claim to proceed.
“The Fourth Amendment protects the right to be safe and secure in your person and property,” says Ari Bargil, an attorney on the suit. “This program violates that right,” he notes, “because it allows and requires Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies to approach people at their home, harass them, refuse to leave, and in some instances demand entry without a warrant. These are obvious and clear Fourth Amendment violations.”
Sheriff Chris Nocco, the brains behind the program, openly admitted that it’s intended to do more than what the congratulatory letter implies: He hopes it will “take them out” of the community, he said, with one of his former employees conceding that their job was to “make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”
Police harassment that purposely violates an individual’s constitutional rights is offensive enough. That it is stated department policy is unconscionable. Here’s hoping the court doesn’t just declare the whole program unconstitutional, but it also holds the department liable for its actions.
No qualified immunity allowed.