1951 August 13

ACLU Defends Right of NYC Police to Form a Union


The American Civil Liberties Union on this day won the right to file an amicus brief in a case challenging the NYC Police Commissioner’s ban on officers forming a union. The challenge to the Commissioner’s order was filed by the Transport Workers Union, which was seeking to become the officers’ collective bargaining agent.

Over the years, the ACLU was often attacked by police for defending the rights of criminal suspects and for advocating reforms to control police abuse. Nonetheless, the ACLU also defended the rights of police officers. See, for example, the New York Civil Liberties Union criticisms of the violations of civil liberties in the investigation of police corruption in New York City on October 22, 1971. The ACLU also published a book, The Rights of Police Officers, as part of its Civil Liberties Handbook series (October 25, 1981).

Outdated, but still useful: Gilda Brancato and Elliot E. Polebaum, The Rights of Police Officers (1981)

Read: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)

Read the ACLU FBI File (not the complete file): http://vault.fbi.gov/ACLU

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

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