Stop Terrorizing Citizens With Violent, Illegal Searches

Riot Police

Target: Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones

Goal: End “neighborhood blitz” campaigns that terrify public housing tenants with sudden, warrantless searches.

Disabled, Hispanic and African American tenants were terrorized by police without warrants who forced and threatened their way into homes via an operation known as a “neighborhood blitz,” according to a pending lawsuit. Plaintiffs allege that they were unfairly targeted by police in so-called “housing inspections” that happen with little to no warning to search for drugs and weapons.

During these “inspections,” police reportedly demanded entry to low-income apartments mostly occupied by people of color and disabled individuals or just walked in uninvited. According to the suit, they ransacked these homes, coming at any time of the day or night, tossing the contents of drawers onto the floor, and demanding to see personal documents. Some of these apartments housed pregnant women whose health concerns were ignored during these intrusive and stressful searches.

The municipal code of Stockton, California requires regular inspections of all rental properties, but this code is meant to ensure that landlords aren’t subjecting tenants to dangerous or unsanitary conditions. Instead, it’s allegedly being used to terrorize vulnerable people under the guise of searching for illegal substances and weapons without notice and without warrants–acts which are supposed to be unconstitutional.

People of color and disabled people need to be protected from abuse, not subjected to it. Demand that the Stockton police department immediately end the policy of conducting these “neighborhood blitzes” and stop the allegedly prejudiced warrantless searches.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Jones,

Your department is currently faced with a lawsuit alleging that your officers engaged in discrimination, racial profiling, and brutality during their routine “neighborhood blitz” operations. Whether or not the allegations are true, I am disturbed by the nature of these raids.

Searching rental properties under the Stockton Municipal Code was supposed to be a way to protect vulnerable tenants from slum lords who fail to meet safety and sanitation standards. Instead, your police are breaking into the homes of disabled persons and people of color at any time of the day or night to trash their homes in search of drugs and weapons without warrants and without giving adequate notice.

This is the kind of police behavior that the U.S. Constitution was meant to protect citizens from. Exploiting laws meant to protect tenants to terrorize them at random is a disgraceful way for any police department to conduct itself. I demand that you immediately halt these “neighborhood blitz” operations and respect people’s basic rights by issuing warrants and notice before searching their homes.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: katesheets

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