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Patriotically Incorrect since 1999

Teenagers’ Arrests Are Unconstitutional, A.C.L.U. Lawsuit Says

F. E., 17, settled in Brentwood in 2014 after escaping death threats from gang members in El Salvador, according to the suit. His lawyer said his client was suspended this spring for three days from Brentwood High School for scribbling in a notebook the El Salvador telephone code “503,” which has been linked to MS-13. After that, the police frequently stopped him.

On June 9, according to the lawsuit, F. E. was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct. He was released on bail but was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. He has since been in three detention facilities from Virginia to California, and on Aug. 4, he was transferred to Lincoln Hall Boys’ Haven in Lincolndale, N.Y.

According to the Lawsuit, J. G, 17, was arrested by Suffolk County police on suspicion of being in a gang because he was wearing a soccer jersey with El Salvador written on it. The police accused him of “killing someone,” the suit said.

The original plaintiff, identified as A. H., was arrested by ICE officers in June, the suit said. He had admitted to being in a gang, “which was untrue,” it said, adding that the officers did not give him an opportunity to gather any belongings or to communicate with his mother or his lawyer.

“Gang violence in our communities is real, and it must be addressed,” said William S. Freeman, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U. of Northern California. But, he said, “we can’t address gang violence by violating the Constitution.”

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