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