LAKE CHARLES— A settlement has been reached between the ACLU of Louisiana’s client, Mr. Talj Howard, a Black teacher and defendants, the City of Jennings, Eduardo Mendoza, a patrolman of the Jennings Police Department, Christopher Bergeaux, a sergeant of the Jennings Police Department and David Amrine, an officer of the Welsh Police Department. 

On April 8, 2021, Mr. Howard was driving through Jennings, Louisiana when he was pulled over for allegedly improperly using the left lane of Interstate 10. He was then searched for over an hour by the defendants in extreme heat. Mr. Howard had his cell phone taken from him, his luggage searched, and portions of the panels of his car door ripped off as officers searched his vehicle. He was finally allowed to leave after nothing illegal was found. 

“Through our Justice Lab work, the ACLU of Louisiana is making sure there are consequences for law enforcement who harass Black people in Louisiana. There are consequences for unconstitutional searches,” said Nora Ahmed, ACLU of Louisiana legal director. “I applaud Mr. Howard for refusing to accept mistreatment. Our Justice Lab work, a first of its kind for an ACLU affiliate, challenges racially discriminatory policing practices. It is because of brave clients like Mr. Howard, who demand the respect they are owed, that we are able to do this work.”

Howard v. City Of Jennings marks the thirteenth settlement for the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab initiative, which seeks to challenge racially discriminatory policing practices and combat police violence against people of color through intensive litigation. The Justice Lab has obtained numerous legal victories and secured over half a million dollars in awards for victims of racist policing in Louisiana