1929 May 23

ACLU Leaders Meet with NYC Police Commissioners, Demand Protection of Civil Liberties


ACLU leaders met with New York City Police Commissioner Grover Whalen on this day to protest police misconduct. They cited patterns of indiscriminate searches and seizures, the “round-up of honest citizens, and violations of the rights of criminal suspects.

The cordial hour-and-a-half meeting ended with the ACLU leaders optimistic that “something is going to be done,” according the ACLU Director Roger Baldwin.

Police misconduct was rampant in the 1920s and 1930s. The Wickersham Commission, appointed by President Herbert Hoover, issued a report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement on August 10, 1931, which reported that the “Third Degree” was widespread among U.S. police departments.

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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