Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office settles racial profiling lawsuit for $100,000

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department admits it made a humiliating mistake. It’s a mistake that’ll cost $100,000.

The department will have to pay an African American woman for pulling her over three times for no reason.

Rare dashcam video from Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies, helped the American Civil Liberties Union win their case against the department. The ACLU claims the deputies pulled over an ICE agent just because she’s black.

“Sherese Crawford is a federal agent who was here on an assignment from New York,” says Leon Howard, Legal Director for the ACLU.

The dashcam video shows Sherese Crawford getting pulled over three times in less than a month, back in 2017.

“One time she was pulled over for allegedly following too closely. The second time, an officer told her her plates didn’t come back in the system,” says Howard.

The third time was for driving too slowly. Crawford was never ticketed for any of the stops.

The ACLU says it became clear the deputies didn’t know how harmful racial profiling can be.

“It was also clear that none of these officers had any sort of training on the concept of implicit bias,” says Howard.

Last week, the ACLU settled with BCSO for $100,000. With the settlement, they sent the sheriff’s office a letter.

“We’re asking Manny Gonzales to take measures to educate his officers on the harms of racial profiling,” says Howard.

In a statement, Sheriff Manny Gonzales says these were isolated incidents and that the deputies involved were removed from their positions, disciplined, and required to attend additional training. He also says the department requires multiple training courses in cultural diversity.

BCSO says one of those deputies who made the traffic stops has resigned. The ACLU says Crawford has not been back to New Mexico since these incidents.

Crawford was lucky those stops were captured on dashcam because only a handful of BCSO deputies have them. The ACLU says this case is another example of why all deputies should have cameras.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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