Posted: Oct 8, 2013 9:44 PM by MTN News - Helena
HELENA - In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Attorney General's office are being accused of allowing and even promoting the practice of racial profiling in routine traffic stops over the last three years.
The complaint alleges MHP has a custom, pattern, policy, and practice of seizing drivers and passengers it suspects of being in the country illegally.
It also says the defendants - newly appointed MHP Chief Colonel Tom Butler, and Attorney General Tim Fox - once admitted the former chief endorsed racial profiling.
The plaintiffs are not seeking money, but hope the courts can declare the practices unconstitutional and put safeguards in place.
The President of MT Immigrant Justice Alliance, Shahid Haque-Hausrath said, "For instance, when a patrol officer is detaining somebody of Latino race or ethnicity, they have to state very specifically to dispatch what the purpose of the stop is and it just helps with recording more information and ensuring that there is greater accountability."
The Attorney General's office says that they are reviewing the complaint and do not have a statement at this time.