On June 3, 1999, Plaintiffs, represented by ACLU, filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement ("BNE"), alleging a policy, pattern and practice of targeting ...
read more >
On June 3, 1999, Plaintiffs, represented by ACLU, filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement ("BNE"), alleging a policy, pattern and practice of targeting African-Americans and Latinos in conducting stops, detentions, interrogations and searches of motorists as part of a federally financed drug interdiction program know as ``Operation Pipeline.'' The complaint was amended to include the California Branches of the NAACP, the California League of United Latin American Citizens as plaintiffs and to seek class action status.
Defendants moved to dismiss on the basis that plaintiffs lacked standing and that the amended complaint failed to state a claim. Defendants also moved motion to sever plaintiffs from the case and/or strike the class action allegations.
On March 13, 2000, The District Court (Judge Jeremy Fogel) denied defendants' motion to dismiss in part and granted it in part, holding that plaintiffs adequately pled violations of Title VI, the Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Plaintiffs' state law claims were, however, dismissed on sovereign immunity grounds. Judge Fogel denied defendants' motion to sever plaintiffs and/or strike the class action allegations. Rodriguez v. California Highway Patrol, 89 F.Supp.2d 1131 (N.D.Cal. 2000).
Thereafter the parties engaged in discovery. The docket notes that numerous discovery and procedural motions were filed and plaintiffs' complaint was amended a total of five times. Motions and briefs relative to class certification were filed under seal.
On September 9, 2002, the District Court ordered the action stayed pending continued mediation by the parties. A settlement was reached in February, 2003 and its terms and conditions were approved by the court, along with the accompanying class notification requirements. The District Court dismissed the case with prejudice on June 3, 2003.
The terms of the settlement included:
• A prohibition of racial profiling and racial discrimination of any kind by CHP officers;
• A ban on consent searches of vehicles through 2006;
• Comprehensive data collection for each traffic stop including race, the reason for the stop, whether a search was conducted and the legal basis for the search, and the result of the stop and search;
• Creation of an Auditor to assist in the implementation of changes addressed by the settlement agreement. The Auditor reviewed and analyzed data collected by CHP, and provided input on training, data collection and policy implementation. The Auditor's findings were reported directly to the CHP Commissioner.
• Creation of a "racial profiling" category of citizens' complaints. Dan Dalton - 01/08/2007