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Legal groups seek reversal of lower court ruling that left most transgender North Carolinians vulnerable

RICHMOND – LGBT rights groups challenging the North Carolina law that bans transgender people from using restrooms that correspond to their gender identity yesterday filed their opening brief on appeal requesting that the preliminary injunction in the case be broadened to protect all transgender people in the state from discrimination. In August, a district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the North Carolina university system from enforcing H.B. 2 against the three individual transgender plaintiffs in the lawsuit Carcaño v. McCrory, which is scheduled for trial in May 2017. The advocates also asked the Fourth Circuit to expedite the appeal and schedule oral argument for January.

“Every day that H.B. 2 singles out transgender North Carolinians – whether at school, at work, or just moving through their daily lives – is another day that the transgender community is told that they are second class,” said Chris Brook, ACLU of North Carolina legal director. “Though the district court recognized the serious harm to three of our clients at UNC as a result of H.B. 2, that recognition unfortunately didn’t extend to the harms that law inflicts on other transgender individuals in public buildings across North Carolina. We hope and expect that the Fourth Circuit will expand this ruling to protect all transgender people.”

The appeal filed today argues that H.B. 2 violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because it specifically targets transgender people, and that discrimination against transgender people is a form of sex discrimination. While North Carolina has argued that H.B. 2 advances interests in public safety and privacy, Lambda Legal and the ACLU argue that these interests, which can be protected in other ways, do not justify the harms H.B. 2 imposes on transgender people and that to restore the status quo, the court must grant a broader preliminary injunction while the case proceeds to trial.

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The ACLU and other groups have fought hard to ensure that every eligible voter in North Carolina is able to vote. It is more important than ever that you cast a ballot and make your voice heard.

Follow these five quick tips to make sure your vote is counted this November:

  • Get registered at your current address. Check your voter registration status by visiting the North Carolina State Board of Elections website or calling 866-522-4723. The regular deadline to register is Friday, October 14. You will also have an opportunity to register during early voting beginning October 20. NOTE: In response to Hurricane Matthew, the State Board of Elections has announced that applications with October 14 or an earlier date next to the signature will be accepted if they are received on or before Wednesday, Oct. 19. Read the SBOE memo for more details.
  • Same-day registration in effect. You will also be able to register, or update your registration, at polling locations during early voting hours. Note: You cannot register to vote at the polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8.
  • No ID required. North Carolina's unconstitutional voter ID requirement was struck down by the courts. Most people do not need ID to vote. Visit NCvoter.org for more details.
  • Be informed. See how your state representatives voted on civil liberties by reviewing our 2016 Legislative Report Card.
  • Vote early. Early voting runs from Thursday, October 20, to Saturday, November 5. Locate your polling place and note the hours of operation by calling the state Board of Elections or visiting their website.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Make sure that politicians hear your voice loud and clear this year by taking the time to register and vote.

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CHARLOTTE – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina joins those calling on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) to publicly release all body and dash camera footage, as well as audio dispatch recordings, of the events surrounding the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old man with a traumatic brain injury, who, according to the Guardian’s database The Counted, was the 194th Black person killed by U.S. police this year. 

On Saturday, the department released portions of body and dash camera footage showing the moments immediately before and after police shot and killed Mr. Scott. But the department has not released all the video footage of the moments leading up to and following the encounter, leaving many questions still unanswered.

Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina, released the following statement:

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Keith Lamont Scott deserves justice

Posted on in Racial Justice

This week a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, the 164th Black man killed by U.S. police this year. Mr. Scott was not a suspect for any crime. Officers were trying to execute a warrant for a different person.

Keith Lamont Scott deserves justice, and the public and Mr. Scott’s family deserve answers. That begins with transparency.

Tell Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Police Chief Kerr Putney to release any and all police camera footage of the events surrounding Mr. Scott’s killing.

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CHARLOTTE – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina today called on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release any body or dash cam footage that captured yesterday’s police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the 194th Black person killed by U.S. police this year. Police say Mr. Scott was shot and killed while officers were trying to execute an arrest warrant for a different person.

A new North Carolina law, HB 972, will prevent law enforcement agencies from releasing body camera footage in the public interest without a court order, but the law does not take effect until October 1. All Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers are supposed to be equipped with body cameras while on patrol and the cameras should be in use any time an arrest is made, according to department policy.  

Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, released the following statement:

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