Adam Klasfeld | Racial Justice and Civil Rights
From the Black Lives Matter movement to the trial that restrained racial profiling in the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk program, I have covered some of the most prominent civil rights struggles where they unfolded. Breaking a story about a groundbreaking scientific study involving transgender troops, I drew attention to how many served in silence before the Pentagon lifted its ban - and President Donald Trump tried to revive the discriminatory policy.
After decades of lopsided racial disparities in the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, three civil rights lawsuits brought the issue to a head. The most important of these cases, Floyd v. The City of New York, went to trial in 2013, culminating in a landmark ruling by former U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin that put police under a courtroom monitor. I covered the cases from the pre-trial hearings through the appellate process, finally ended by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accepting the court's ruling.
Though the litigation is now over, then-Republican candidate Donald Trump revived it as a political football in a presidential debate:
In this freelance story for Mother Jones, I reported on scientific studies finding that transgender people are twice as likely to enlist into the armed services, and that suicidal behavior is 20 times more prevalent in transgender vets. After this article's publication, I learned that Veterans Affairs disseminated the story on its internal newsletter, and the Pentagon shelved what the Secretary of Defense called its "outdated" anti-transgender regulations two years later.
Link to story: The Pentagon's Transgender Problem
Long Island Community Protests Sessions' Crackdown
In April 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions chose a federal courthouse in Long Island's Suffolk County to make his first visit to the New York area, and to announce his crackdown on MS-13, a gang founded in Los Angeles by El Salvadoran's who fled that country's civil war. For many in the area's Latino community, however, the attorney general's visit revived painful memories of an Ecuadorean immigrant's murder that drew attention to hate crimes neglected by law enforcement. I covered the press conference, the protests and the local and international histories in this dispatch.
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