The Crusader Newspaper Group

Black people in a Mississippi county are ‘under a permanent state of siege,’ according to an ACLU lawsuit

By Samantha Schmidt and Derek Hawkins,

It was 7 a.m. last June when six sheriff’s deputies stormed into the Manning family home in Canton, Miss., according to a new lawsuit. They demanded that the Mannings sign witness statements for a crime in their neighborhood they claimed not to have seen.

When Khadafy Manning, 35, refused, deputies allegedly handcuffed, choked and beat the man, who uses a cane because of a nerve condition. They called him “Mr. Cripple,” his wife said, and proceeded to drag him out of the house, down the stairs and into a patrol car, beating him until he wrote a witness statement.

Khadafy and Quinnetta Manning are among those suing the sheriff’s department in Madison County, claiming the department used unconstitutional checkpoints, unlawful searches of homes, and excessive force as part of what they call “a coordinated top-down program” to illegally target black residents.

The lawsuit, filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, seeks a court order to stop the sheriff’s department from using such tactics. It also asks that a civilian board review complaints against the department. Ten black residents — men and women ages 27 to 62 — are plaintiffs in the case.

Some black residents are so afraid of being pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint that they avoid leaving their homes, the lawsuit says.

“In effect the policing program has placed the Black community of Madison County under a permanent state of siege,” the lawsuit states.


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