Latino Activists Demand DOJ Probe Into Harassment Claims

"Pattern" of police abuse against Latinos described

By Kathy Banks
|  Thursday, Jun 30, 2011  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Latino Activists Demand DOJ Probe Into Harassment Claims

NBCWashington

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Latino activists in Prince William County are asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate allegations of police harassment and other civil rights abuses.

Three years ago, the county passed a resolution, similar to Arizona's recent immigration law. Since then, critics say police officers in Prince William have been using excessive force.
 
The activists said the Department of Justice must step in and protect residents.
 
“We’ve had situations where people are just walking and then they get stopped because they’re Latino. We have situations where people are eating at a picnic table, eating a sandwich, and they’re stopped by a police officer and questioned while they’re eating,” Diana Sen, General counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said at a news conference Thursday.
 
Prince William County denies the accusations. 
 
"Prince William (County) has not had any civil rights violations filed against us," a spokesperson said. "The community as a whole is safe, our citizen satisfaction surveys are up (among) both police and (the) community. There is no evidence that will support their claim.”
 

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