“If a police station or police department isn’t collecting this information, there is no way to track if they do have problems and if there are people complaining,” said Lauren Bonds, the interim Executive Director and Legal Director of the Kansas ACLU.
The settlement has been signed by School Board President Brad Stratton and the students’ representatives. But it must be finalized by a judge before the district or the ACLU will comment on the terms.
"It's particularly concerning given the fact that there was no reason to escalate the situation in the first place," Bonds said. "A number of federal circuits have found that flipping off a police officer is protected speech. Asking to see their supervisor shouldn't result in you getting shot."
The ACLU of Kansas said in a news release that it was a case of “moving while black” and that the organization asked Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to investigate the matter or refer the group’s complaint to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training.
Bonds said she was optimistic about the people appointed to the commission, and its potential to change the state’s criminal justice system on many levels, including probation, diversion, mental health and prisons.
The ACLU of Kansas announced in a press release Tuesday that it had reached a settlement agreement with the district. But because the plaintiffs in the case are minors, the settlement is not final until is it approved by a judge.