LatinoJustice to co-host Capitol Hill briefing on human rights abuses in PR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2011

CONTACT: Madeline Friedman, Media Relations Coordinator, 212-739-7581, 201-600-1397 or mfriedman@latinojustice.org.


LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Institute for Latino Policy will hold a public briefing on July 12 to address ongoing First Amendment, police misconduct and other human rights abuses against U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. The briefing will be held on Tuesday, July 12 at 10 a.m. in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

The Puerto Rican government has subjected citizens to abuses including infringement of rights to free speech, peaceful assembly, and freedom from police brutality.

Over the last two years, heavily-armed riot squads have descended on peaceful protestors. Individuals protesting at the University of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican Capitol building steps, their Supreme Court, and other locations have been subjected to beatings by police armed with night sticks, tear gas, and pepper spray. Communities that have suffered ongoing police brutality, including the use of lethal force, rarely receive justice for the abuses endured.

We urge Members of Congress to learn about these documented civil and human rights abuses. Our organizations strongly believe that this is an issue of national concern. Federal elected and appointed officials always have, and must continue to, exercise their rightful role in investigating and prosecuting abuse and injustice whenever and wherever it happens. A Department of Justice investigation into the Puerto Rico Police Department was initiated in 2008, but has yet to be finalized.

Our organizations are urging DOJ to complete its investigation and are calling on Congress to use its power to ensure that all residents of Puerto Rico are safe from this unlawful police violence. Please join us to learn more about this troubling situation.

Panelists:

  • Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF
  • Angelo Falcón, President, National Institute for Latino Policy
  • Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU
  • Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, ACLU

Moderated by Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Please RSVP to Georgeanne Usova, gusova@dcaclu.org, by noon on Monday, July 11.

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