Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response to the Supreme Judicial Court decision in Commonwealth v. Long:
“We commend the Court not only for reaffirming that Massachusetts residents have a constitutional right to be free from racial profiling, but also for announcing a new, fairer test recognizing that this right will not be meaningful unless people subjected to racial profiling have a viable means to prove it in court. Here in Massachusetts, Black and brown people are disproportionately stopped by the police for minor violations of the law or for no violations at all. The Court’s new totality-of-the-circumstances test makes clear that racial profiling is illegal, that courts have a duty to ensure equal justice for drivers who are subjected to racially motivated traffic stops, and that statistical evidence is not required when Black and brown people seek to prove in court that their lived experiences are true.
"But courts shouldn’t have to go it alone. The other branches of Massachusetts government must step up by passing strong data collection laws and taking steps to eliminate racially unjust policing.”