University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name NAACP v. City of Carmel PN-IN-0001
Docket / Court IP97-104C: M/S ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On January 23, 1997, the Indianapolis Chapter/NAACP and David Smith filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Carmel alleging racial profiling by its police department. Plaintiffs alleged that ... read more >
On January 23, 1997, the Indianapolis Chapter/NAACP and David Smith filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Carmel alleging racial profiling by its police department. Plaintiffs alleged that officers of the Carmel Police Department [CPD] had a policy, custom and/or practice of stopping vehicles because of the race of their drivers or occupants or because of the fact that the cars were from outside of Hamilton County.

Plaintiff David Smith, an African-American, was a sergeant with the Indiana State Police. Sgt. Smith alleged that he was pulled over by a CPD officer while he was driving home in an unmarked state police vehicle. Sgt. Smith further alleged that he was stopped only because he was an African-American driving an older car which did not have Hamilton County license plates. Sgt. Smith sought damages individually and injunctive relief on behalf of the class.

On January 31, 1997, plaintiffs moved for class certification. Defendants responded by filing an offer of judgment, a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings and a response in opposition to class certification.

Plaintiffs subsequently amended the complaint and their class certification motion. On June 24, 1997, the District Court (Judge McKinney) denied defendants' motion for partial judgment on the pleadings.

Before the District Court ruled on the issue of class certification, the parties settled the matter and entered into a joint stipulation as to settlement and class certification on April 17, 1998. The District Court entered an order certifying the class and approving the settlement. Plaintiffs filed a separate motion to assess liquidated damages in the amount of $20,000 which was denied by the District Court. Sgt. Smith reached a separate confidential settlement of his individual damage claims.

The settlement agreement called for a permanent prohibition against defendants' stopping of vehicles on the basis of the race of the driver and/or passenger. It also enjoined defendants from stopping vehicles because the vehicles do not have Hamilton County license plates. The CPD agreed to videotape all traffic stops and maintain computer records for all such stops. The CPD also agreed to implement a complaint reporting system to track alleged misconduct and to retain an outside consultant to assist with the implementation of the reforms.

Dan Dalton - 01/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Racial profiling
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Carmel Police Department
Plaintiff Description All minority individuals, young persons or persons driving vehicles which do not bear Hamilton County license plates, and who have been, are being, or will be stopped or subject to being stopped without lawful cause by the Carmel Police Department.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1998 - 2001
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
IP97-C-0104 -M/S (S.D. Ind.) 04/06/1999
PN-IN-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 01/23/1997
PN-IN-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Motion for Class Certification 01/31/1997
PN-IN-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Stipulation of the Parties to Settle All Issues After Approval by the Class/Stipulation to Class Certification/Stipulation and Notice to the Class 04/17/1998
PN-IN-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)
PN-IN-0001-0001 | PN-IN-0001-0002 | PN-IN-0001-0004 | PN-IN-0001-9000
Metzel, Andrielle M. (Indiana)
PN-IN-0001-0001 | PN-IN-0001-0002 | PN-IN-0001-0004
Pence, Linda L. (Indiana)
PN-IN-0001-0001 | PN-IN-0001-0002 | PN-IN-0001-0004 | PN-IN-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Helmen, Randall (Indiana)
PN-IN-0001-0002 | PN-IN-0001-0004 | PN-IN-0001-9000
Maley, John R. (Indiana)
PN-IN-0001-9000
Zoeller, Susan M. (Indiana)
PN-IN-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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