Search & Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects against unlawful searches and seizures. Despite this, countless citizens have been subjected to searches without suspicion. The ACLU of Michigan challenges such unlawful practices by law enforcement and in schools.

ACLU of Michigan Urges Taylor Police to Change Policy and Training After Violent Arrest of Calvin Jones

ACLU of Michigan Urges Taylor Police to Change Policy and Training After Violent Arrest of Calvin Jones

2017-05-25 00:00:00

The ACLU of Michigan sent a letter to the Taylor Police Department, urging re-training and policy changes for its officers in the wake of a traffic stop last year in which an African-American motorist was snatched from his car, put in a chokehold until he claims he blacked out and then, once arrested, stripped to his underwear and left in a cold cell for hours. The letter also calls for discipline for officers involved in the incident, in which 26-year-old motorist Calvin Jones was violently arrested. His wife and underage brother-in-law were also taken into police custody.

Seven-Year-Old Handcuffed at School

Seven-Year-Old Handcuffed at School

2016-03-04 00:00:00

In October 2015 a “school resource officer” working in Flint handcuffed a seven-year-old student with ADHD when the student did not immediately respond to the officer’s instruction.  The student was not a threat to himself or others and was handcuffed for nearly an hour solely on account of his disability-related behavior.  In March 2016 the ACLU wrote a letter on behalf of the family seeking wholesale policy changes to ensure that no more children are handcuffed at school.  We are continuing to work with Flint in an attempt to resolve the matter. 

Police Photograph and Fingerprint African American Youth Over Toy Truck

Police Photograph and Fingerprint African American Youth Over Toy Truck

2016-08-23 00:00:00

Keyon Harrison, an African American 16-year-old, was walking home from school when he saw another youth with a model truck and paused to look at it.  Grand Rapids police, who later claimed that two youth looking at a toy truck is so suspicious that it justifies a police investigation, stopped Keyon, took his picture, and fingerprinted him. 

Knock and Talk

Knock and Talk

2016-07-28 00:00:00

When the police don’t have enough evidence to get a search warrant, they sometimes employ a procedure they have nicknamed “knock and talk” to investigate further.  Courts have ruled that a police officer has the same right as an everyday citizen (for example, a Girl Scout selling cookies) to visit your house, knock on your front door, and ask to speak with you.  Unfortunately, abuses of the “knock and talk” technique are now rampant.  In one case, when no one answered the front door, the police started walking around the property knocking on back doors and side doors until they spotted some

Daily Searches at Public School

Daily Searches at Public School

2016-09-05 00:00:00

In July 2016 a 13-year-old student was forced to withdraw from a summer school program run by a public school district because he did not consent to a daily pat-down frisk and a search of his backpack.  The teenager’s father had recently passed away, and his mother was unable to locate a firearm that had been legally owned and registered in the father’s name.  Although there was no evidence that their son had taken the gun or posed any danger to the school, school administrators insisted on searching the 13-year-old as a condition of his entering the school building each morning. 

ACLU, Mackinac Center Applaud New Forfeiture Bill But Call on State to Require Conviction

ACLU, Mackinac Center Applaud New Forfeiture Bill But Call on State to Require Conviction

2017-01-06 00:00:00

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and ACLU of Michigan applaud the state’s new law protecting the rights of citizens facing civil forfeiture.

The Michigan House and Senate passed House Bill 4629, and Gov. Snyder signed it this week. The law eliminates a bond requirement for property seized by law enforcement, which required those whose property was seized by the police to pay 10 percent of the value of their property just to challenge the forfeiture in court. Michigan was one of only five states with that type of requirement.

Border Patrol Sued Over Warrantless Searches in Michigan

Border Patrol Sued Over Warrantless Searches in Michigan

2016-11-30 00:00:00

Originally published by Todd Spangler for the Detroit Free Press

WASHINGTON – A watchdog group is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection in federal court in Detroit to find out if government agents are racially profiling American citizens and foreigners legally in the U.S. under a law that allows for warrantless searches across Michigan to combat illegal immigration.

Civil Rights Groups File Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Border Patrol for Lack of Transparency

Civil Rights Groups File Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Border Patrol for Lack of Transparency

2016-11-30 00:00:00

DETROIT—Citing concerns over potential Constitutional violations, the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and researchers today filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the agency’s failure to provide information related to its “100-mile zone” policy—which CBP says authorizes agents to engage in warrantless vehicle searches within 100 miles of any international border or waterway.

Lawsuits for Information About Multi-Agency Task Force Raids

Lawsuits for Information About Multi-Agency Task Force Raids

2016-08-23 00:00:00

The ACLU of Michigan has worked to expose and address Fourth Amendment abuses by inter-agency police task forces and police raids.  In October 2014 we learned that a task force involving the Highland Park police and federal immigration agents raided a late-night dance and music event in Detroit, resulting in numerous arrests, forfeitures and allegations of mental and physical abuse by law enforcement officers.  When we sent the Highland Park Police Department a public records request in an attempt to learn more about the incident, they failed to provide the requested documents. 

Pages

September 05, 2016
In July 2016 a 13-year-old student was forced to withdraw from a summer school program run by a public school district because he did not consent to a daily...
August 23, 2016
The ACLU of Michigan has worked to expose and address Fourth Amendment abuses by inter-agency police task forces and police raids.  In October 2014 we learned...
August 23, 2016
Keyon Harrison, an African American 16-year-old, was walking home from school when he saw another youth with a model truck and paused to look at it.  Grand...
July 28, 2016
When the police don’t have enough evidence to get a search warrant, they sometimes employ a procedure they have nicknamed “knock and talk” to investigate...
March 04, 2016
In October 2015 a “school resource officer” working in Flint handcuffed a seven-year-old student with ADHD when the student did not immediately respond to the...
May 20, 2015
When police officers in Alpena searched Carmen Villeneuve’s house in August 2014 because they believed she was selling marijuana, they seized all of Ms....
March 24, 2015
Given the rapid pace of technological change, it can be hard for citizens to know what surveillance equipment is being used by their local governments,...
March 10, 2015
In 2010, the ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Detroit Police Department’s 2008 raid of a fundraising event at the Contemporary Art...
October 21, 2014
For years, the Grand Rapids Police Department has solicited business owners to sign “Letters of Intent to Prosecute Trespassers.” These letters do not...
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today called on the Dearborn Heights Board of Education to exercise discretion allowed under the state...
April 24, 2014
The ACLU of Michigan was troubled by news reports that the Detroit Police Department hired the Manhattan Institute and Bratton Group as consultants, as these...
July 23, 2013
Using the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU of Michigan obtained police reports from law enforcement agencies across the state that include narratives of...
March 29, 2010
Score another victory for the good guys – or in this case, Lewis and Jean Lowden, an army veteran and his late wife challenged their 2007 arrest for driving...
April 10, 2014
The ACLU maintains a presence in Lansing that enables us to pass policies that expand civil liberties or prevent the passage of policies that are hostile to...
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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and ACLU of Michigan applaud the state’s new law protecting the rights of citizens facing civil forfeiture. The Michigan...
November 30, 2016
DETROIT—Citing concerns over potential Constitutional violations, the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and researchers today filed a federal...
October 23, 2015
While the practice of criminal forfeiture is widely accepted as legitimate, civil forfeiture has proven to be far more troublesome as a threat to our freedom....
MIDLAND – Michigan’s civil forfeiture laws, which enable law enforcement agencies to gain possession of private property, are among the worst rated in the...
April 24, 2015 Racial Profiling
DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union announced a settlement in its lawsuit filed on behalf of Shoshana Hebshi, a mother of two who was pulled off an...
April 15, 2015 Racial Profiling
Kirk McConer was arrested and jailed while talking to a friend outside a convenience store, where he had just purchased a soda. Tyrone Hightower was arrested...
April 09, 2015 Black Lives Matter
By now, many of us have seen the gut-wrenching video that shows white South Carolina police officer Michael T. Slager shooting Walter L. Scott, an unarmed...
March 11, 2015 Forfeiture Law
On May 31, 2008, approximately 130 members of the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit gathered for a monthly event featuring music and dancing. Shortly...
February 27, 2015 This Week Online
The ACLU of Michigan is tracking hundreds of legal cases and pieces of legislation that impact your civil liberties at any given moment, covering all concerns...
January 13, 2015 Black Lives Matter
At 33 years old, my biological clock isn’t just ticking any longer—its clamoring at me. Like some incessant internal siren, it wails at me day after day,...
April 01, 2014 Racial Profiling
DETROIT – An Ohio mother of two who was unlawfully arrested, detained and strip-searched because of her ethnicity on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will be able...
June 22, 2013 Weekly Rights Review
This week, we are fighting for all Michiganders’ rights to have fair trials and to go to school, regardless of their economic status. In the meantime, more...
June 14, 2013 Weekly Rights Review
From couples trying to adopt children and to people on hard times: we're fighting discrimination against innocent people in Michigan. This week, hear up-to-the...
April 18, 2013 Homelessness
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter to the Detroit Police Department and filed a complaint with the United States Department of...
January 22, 2013 Racial Profiling
DETROIT – An Ohio mother of two who was unlawfully arrested, detained and strip-searched because of her ethnicity filed a lawsuit today against Frontier...
December 05, 2012 Forfeiture Law
DETROIT – A federal judge yesterday ruled unconstitutional the 2008 Detroit police raid of the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit in which 130 innocent CAID...
September 20, 2011 Search & Seizure
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of a 13-year-old boy who was forced by the Livonia police to submit to a...
September 09, 2011 Protest
DETROIT – In a victory for free speech, a federal judge in Michigan yesterday struck down a state statute that makes it illegal to “adversely affect” a funeral...
April 21, 2011 Weekly Rights Review
With incredible cases and an amazing amount of support from civil liberties fans, it seems like we've been working around the clock. This week we're trying to...
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan urged the Michigan State Police (MSP) today to release information regarding the use of portable...
DETROIT – In a consent judgment approved by the court this week, Detroit Public Schools agreed to end the practice of conducting mass student searches without...
March 29, 2010
Score another victory for the good guys – or in this case, Lewis and Jean Lowden, an army veteran and his late wife challenged their 2007 arrest for driving...
DETROIT – In an effort to uphold the constitutional rights of students, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf...
DETROIT – A federal judge today has approved a settlement agreement in the class action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on...
DETROIT — In a letter today to Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan expressed its...
LELAND, MICH – In a letter today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan urged the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department to end the unconstitutional...
September 16, 2009 Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Imagine you’re 19 years old and attending a going away party for a friend. Although alcohol is being served, you do not drink. Now imagine going home after the...
DETROIT – In a case with far reaching implications for young adults and minors throughout Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit today...
DETROIT—The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced today that it has settled its lawsuit against the City of Detroit on behalf of an army veteran...
September 22, 2008 Unreasonable Search and Seizure
DETROIT— The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced today that the City of Detroit has dropped all charges against the nearly 116 patrons of the...
DETROIT — In a legal brief filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked a district court judge to dismiss criminal charges against Michael...
September 26, 2007 Unreasonable Search and Seizure
ACLU Praises Ruling as Major Civil Liberties Victory for Young Adults DETROIT — In a ruling that will impact young adults throughout the state, a federal judge...
ACLU of Michigan Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against City of Flint and Law Enforcement Detroit — The American Civil Liberties of Michigan filed a class...
October 27, 2006 Patriot Act
Citing Improvements to Law, ACLU Withdraws Section 215 Case and Vows to Fight Individual Orders DETROIT — Citing improvements to the law, the American Civil...
Detroit — Today, a Genesee Circuit Court judge reversed a district court decision and ruled that Flint Police violated the constitutional rights of 94 men and...
June 12, 2006 Government Surveillance
ACLU says, "No One is Above the Law, Not Even the President" DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan appeared in federal court...
Agree to stop breath tests of minors without warrants DETROIT – In response to an ACLU lawsuit, Mount Pleasant and Isabella County have agreed to stop forcing...
April 05, 2006 Flint
While the charges against the 93 drug-free young people arrested at a Flint nightclub have not yet been thrown out, the American Civil Liberties Union of...
March 09, 2006 Government Surveillance
DETROIT — Saying that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping of Americans is flatly illegal and unconstitutional, the American Civil Liberties Union...
DETROIT – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that the police should not be able to use...
December 22, 2005 Government Surveillance
Judge Damon Keith ruling was key in establishing legal precedent The 214th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights this past week is an...
September 08, 2005 Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Motion to Dismiss Denied in ACLU Case Representing Dance Club Patrons Subjected to Mass Arrest and Searches DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of...
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan will ask a Flint judge to dismiss charges against 93 young men and women who were arrested, strip searched and/...
May 10, 2005 Racial Profiling
DETROIT— A federal court today ruled that there is enough evidence of racial discrimination and illegal searches by a suburban Detroit police department to...
April 04, 2005 Privacy
DETROIT – In a victory for student rights, a panel of federal judges ruled today that the strip search conducted on more than twenty students at Whitmore Lake...
December 14, 2004 Rights
Man Arrested For Advising Friend of Rights DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of a young man who...
June 21, 2004
DETROIT -- After receiving information about the entrapment of gay men or men suspected of being gay at a highway rest area, the American Civil Liberties Union...
June 10, 2004 Privacy
DETROIT – At a news conference this morning, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced a challenge to a policy that has allowed the Detroit...
January 12, 2004 Property Rights
DETROIT – The California-based Pacific Legal Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan joined forces today by filing a friend of the court...
December 18, 2003 Drug Testing
Michigan’s attempt to impose mandatory drug tests on all welfare recipients has finally come to an end, the American Civil Liberties Union announced today...
June 19, 2003 Privacy
Strip Search Unconsitutional DETROIT – In a victory for student rights, a federal judge has ruled that the strip search of more than twenty students that took...
March 20, 2003
DETROIT – The FBI has told the ACLU that they will refuse to follow their previous practice in Michigan of providing assurances of the men's rights,...
January 24, 2003 Drug Testing
In an interesting turn of events this week, the ACLU of Michigan was victorious on two different cases that are before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in...
BAY CITY — The ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit today challenging a police practice of forcing pedestrians under age 21 to take a Breathalyzer test...
July 23, 2002 Discrimination
DETROIT — The ACLU of Michigan announced today that a settlement has been reached with the City of Detroit in a constitutional challenge of the undercover...
March 08, 2002 Racial Profiling
As the nation tries to find the best ways to improve airport security, it is crucial that we resist grabbing onto strategies that only create a sense of false...
June 05, 2001 Drug Testing
To stop Grand Blanc High School's drug testing program, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a motion on Tuesday in an on-going lawsuit asking...
May 31, 2001 Driving While Black
DETROIT — As the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and as vice-chair of ALPACT, Advocates and Leaders for Police and...
April 10, 2001 Racial Profiling
DETROIT — Acting on behalf of 21 young African-American men who were stopped by the police while riding their bikes, the American Civil Liberties Union of...
November 14, 2000 Forfeiture Law
Fred Lipke picked up $2000 from the City of Wayne Police Department today. A police officer had seized the money from Lipke this June when Lipke brought it to...
In a ruling that will impact young adults throughout the state, a federal judge ruled that the police may no longer force pedestrians under age 21 to take a...
We rely on the police to keep us safe and treat us all fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. This printable pocket guide provides...
This Resource Guide is designed to assist grades 6-12 teachers in introducing Bill of Rights' issues to students. Topics include the First Amendment issues of...
DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced a federal lawsuit today against the City of Detroit on behalf of an army veteran who was...
The Michigan ACLU announced today that pamphlets advising people about their rights when stopped or questioned by the FBI, police or INS officials are...
DETROIT – The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a Michigan case raising the question of whether the courts should suppress evidence seized...
DETROIT – Citing growing concerns over border patrol’s persistent targeting and ongoing detention of individuals at the border based on their race, ethnicity...
DETROIT -- In a case with broad implications for students throughout Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a lawsuit on behalf...
In a victory for privacy rights, the ACLU of Michigan announced today that a special 12-member panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has halted the...
DETROIT – The ACLU of Michigan emailed letters today to 425 city, village, and university attorneys in Michigan urging them to instruct their respective police...
DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced today that the Detroit Public Schools: Board of Education has agreed to settle a lawsuit...