Police Practice Issues The ACLU of Rhode Island is Involved With - Court Cases, Legislation, News Releases


Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years


Police Practices

Police generally protect and serve the public, but abuses of police power continue to be a problem in Rhode Island, particularly in low-income communities and in communities of color.  The ACLU works on various police misconduct issues, such as stop-and-frisk tactics, surveillance, police brutality, and withholding of public police records from citizens.

Police Misconduct in the News

  • Nov, 21, 2019: ACLU Settles Suit Against N. Smithfield Police for Falsely Labeling Resident “Unstable,” “Dangerous”
  • Nov, 14, 2019: ACLU Files Brief Challenging Federal Immigration Mandates on Receipt of Law Enforcement Funds
  • Aug, 27, 2019: Woonsocket Agrees to Make Police Misconduct Records Public

View All News Releases Related to Police Misconduct »

Police Misconduct Related Court Cases

2019: Providence v. Barr
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Racial/Ethnic Discrimination    Immigration    Police Practices    

About this Case:
This is a “friend of the court” brief, filed by the ACLU, in support of a legal challenge brought by the cities of Providence and Central Falls to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) policy conditioning the receipt of federal law enforcement funds on municipal collaboration with immigration officials.

Current Status:
Brief filed in November 2019.

Cody Wofsy, Nicholas Trott Long

Supporting Documents
2018: Cox v. Goncalves
Category: Active Case    Open Government    Police Practices    

About This Case:
This is a lawsuit against the Pawtucket Police over the Department's refusal to release reports of alleged police officer misconduct generated by its Internal Affairs Division (IAD). The suit argues that the Department's refusal to release the records is a violation of the state’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA).

Information on another pending APRA lawsuit against the Pawtucket Police, Lyssikatos v. King (2017),  can be found here.

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in November 2018.

ACLU Cooperating Attorney:
James D. Cullen

More information related to the Pawtucket Police Department:

Supporting Documents

View All Police Misconduct Related Court Cases »