SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A police task force rounded up "only students of color" in an unconstitutional gang sweep of Utah's oldest high school, then built a bogus database of supposed gang members, a father claims in Federal Court.
Kevin Winston sued the Salt Lake City Police Department, three other city police departments, the Salt Lake County sheriff, the school district and Board of Education, and others, in a 51-page complaint.
Two years ago, on Dec. 16, 2010, the defendant Metro Gang Task Force staged a gang raid at West High School, in downtown Salt Lake City.
The 16-member gang unit entered the school "early in the day and remained there for several hours," Winston says, and "rounded up between 14 and 40" students.
"During the raid, officers picked up Latino, African-American and Pacific Islander students whose only mistake was to show up to school, and questioned them and photographed them for placement in a gang database, all while still in the school, regardless of whether or not the students had any actual gang membership," the complaint states. "Shockingly, only students of color were targeted by the task force."
Students were taken to a detention classroom and held against their will, Winston says.
Police searched students' backpacks and notebooks without consent, and "interrogated and photographed the students and retained the information obtained from students in police investigative files," the complaint states.