June 19, 2015 - Settlement agreements reached in a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit sparked by an SPLC investigation are an important step toward preventing east Mississippi children from being needlessly pushed out of school and into the justice system, the SPLC said today.
“Today marks a significant milestone toward ensuring that children in Mississippi, especially children of color, are protected from unnecessary encounters with law enforcement,” said Jody Owens, managing attorney for the SPLC’s Mississippi office. “We commend the Department of Justice and state and local officials in Mississippi for establishing a plan that will help all children have an equal opportunity to pursue their education.”
The settlement agreements were reached in United States v. City of Meridian, et al. The DOJ has reached two agreements – one that resolves the DOJ’s claims against Meridian and another that resolves its claims against the state. Claims against Lauderdale County and Lauderdale County Youth Court judges are still being litigated.