- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Salt Lake City police and school officials will pay about $50,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused them of an illegal gang sweep at a high school, bringing the total settlement in the case to about $100,000.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake City’s police department and school district and West Valley City on behalf of three former high school students who it claims were unlawfully detained, interrogated and photographed in 2010. It also said the officers submitted the students’ information into a police database, potentially spurring additional police scrutiny in the future.

In December, West Valley City agreed to pay about $50,000 to settle the lawsuit.

The parents of the former students have said the gang sweep unfairly targeted students of color, and they want their lawsuit to change how the police treat those kids.

As part of the settlement, the Salt Lake City Police Department also agreed to eliminate such practices as photographing students with signs saying they have an affiliation to a gang and using race, color, ethnicity or national origin in determining whether or not to conduct a search of a student.

The school district has agreed to limit the involvement of police officers with students. It also plans to launch an oversight committee responsible for reviewing interventions by police at schools.

Sarah Hinger, an ACLU attorney who worked on the case, said Thursday that she is pleased with the terms of the settlement.

She said she hopes it will help to ensure “kids can attend schools that are safe and supportive and are respectful of their rights under the Constitution.”

West Valley City said it had only one person on the task force that did the sweep, and though they didn’t admit wrongdoing they agreed to the settlement because it didn’t make financial sense to keep the suit going.

The Salt Lake City Police Department also didn’t admit wrongdoing but said the settlement could help to ensure similar interventions don’t take place in the future.

The school district declined to comment but released a statement Thursday that said it’s working to ensure all contact between students and police is appropriate.



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