Settlement Reached in ACLU Lawsuit Against Bridgeport Police

Civil liberties advocates said they have settled a lawsuit they filed against two Bridgeport police officers, accusing them of violating a black driver's civil rights during a traffic stop as he was taking his two sons to get ice cream after a Little League game.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut filed a suit against officers Keith Ruffin and Carlos Vasquez in federal court, seeking undisclosed damages for the May 2015 traffic stop involving Woodrow Vereen.

The ACLU said the officers stopped Vereen for driving through a yellow light, ordered him out of the car, frisked him and searched the car without evidence of wrongdoing while his two frightened boys were in the back seat.

“We are pleased that our client’s quest for justice has ended in a fair agreement,” Dan Barrett, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut and the attorney representing Vereen in the case, said in a statement. “Although Mr. Vereen had done nothing wrong and did not consent to a search, he was removed from his car, frisked, and detained by Bridgeport police, all in full view of his frightened sons. This agreement sends a message that the Fourth Amendment still matters in Connecticut, and we hope that the Bridgeport police department will reconsider acting like an occupying force that suspects even a father taking his children out for ice cream.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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