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Law and Race

University of the District of Columbia School of Law

Black Community

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Naacp V. The Attorney General: Black Community Struggle Against Police Violence, 1959-68, Jay Stewart Jan 2006

Naacp V. The Attorney General: Black Community Struggle Against Police Violence, 1959-68, Jay Stewart

Journal Articles

On March 30, 1959, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions which set the stage for a new era in police-community relations. In Abbate v. United States. I and Bartkus v. Illinois,2 the Court gave the U.S. Justice Department the power to prosecute police officers under federal civil rights laws for acts of racist violence - even when they were already under state or local investigation - without fear of violating states' rights. These decisions - had they been enforced - would have been welcome news at the New York headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored …