Metro Assaults Up

Broken Promises - Bad Dreams, A Metro Investigation (Fifth in a series)

WMATA’s overall crime down but concerns remain on Metrorail 

Metro entranceIn the last six years, the MTPD (Metro Transit Police Department) has battled several lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) relating to their use of excessive force. At the same time, although overall crime has gone down at Metro stations, the number of assaults has gone up. Two notable suits involved young teens. According to the complaint filed by the ACLU in D.C. district court, in 2013 a 14-year-old girl referred to as A.K., was falsely arrested by MTPD officer Leo Taylor for a possible curfew violation. According to the ACLU the curfew would not have applied to A.K. since the train she was on was involved in interstate travel. Taylor pulled A.K. away from her older sister, punched her in the face, handcuffed her and then dragged her out of the station.

According to the complaint, Taylor took A.K. to a street-level bus shelter. Another officer told A.K. she could stand up, when she did Officer Taylor tackled her to the ground and smashed A.K’s head against the side of a bus shelter. When A.K. started to spit blood, Taylor tried to put a surgical mask on her, when A.K. resisted, Taylor hit the 14-year-old in the face several more times.

The teen suffered a severe concussion and had to receive physical therapy due to her injuries.

According to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) spokeswomen Sherri Ly, Taylor still works for Metro. She was unable to provide any specifics about his duty assignments.

“Like every police force in a large metropolitan area, they are dealing with tens of thousands of people every day; they are dealing with crowded conditions. I have some sympathy that they have a very tough job to do, in general, police officers try to do it well sometimes things do not turn out right, more often there are officers who just lose their temper,” said ACLU legal head Art Spitzer.


ACLU Sues Hogan

  • Published in State

Blocking people on Facebook comes back to haunt governor and county takes notice


ROCKVILLE – Members of the Montgomery County Council say they’re taking notice after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Gov. Larry Hogan.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that Hogan’s staff members deleted comments and blocked constituents from viewing his Facebook page.

“The highest purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right of Americans to engage in political speech and to petition the government to address their concerns," said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland in a statement.


"Intent To Discriminate"

  • Published in News

ACLU and county residents join in fight against Trump travel ban


The American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs, including several county residents, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Maryland’s Southern Division against President Donald J. Trump and members of his administration, including Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The suit challenges Trump’s recent travel ban, alleging it is unconstitutional. 

Plaintiffs allege the ban “violates the Constitution - including the First Amendment's prohibition of government establishment of religion and the Fifth Amendment's guarantees of equal treatment under the law - and federal laws,” according to a ACLU news release. 


County officials navigate turgid waters of race relations

  • Published in Local

flowers along FergusonA black man in a sweater, baseball cap and jeans pulled up around 10:30 p.m. to place a sign near the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center in Silver Spring. A park police officer pulled up and started confronting the man, yelling that the man “had no business being here.” He continued yelling until his partner looked down at the sign.

The officer then realized it was County Executive Isiah Leggett.


County expresses little concern in gathering personal info

  • Published in Local


Policelights 1ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Police Department is one of three police agencies in the state using cell tower site simulators that could allow the department to intercept personal conversations, read text messages and access emails and contact data phones in its vicinity.

“Governments use cellular interceptors, bad guys use interceptors, spies use cellular interceptors, foreign operatives use cellular interceptors,” said Buzz Burner, director of applications at ESD America, a defense and law enforcement technology company based in Las Vegas. “It is a methodology that allows for the interception and capture of high value information. This is not a new thing that there are cellular interceptors.”


Senate committee passes cybersecurity bill

  • Published in Local

Barbara Mikulski official portrait c. 2011The Senate Intelligence Committee, by a 12-3 vote, advanced a cybersecurity bill on Tuesday that civil liberties groups say will threaten civilians’ Fourth Amendment rights, according to a representative from the Open Technology Institute.

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