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Local Campaigns to Protect Rights and Liberties

These local campaign provide opportunities for individual municipalities to do what the federal government has not: protect the liberty and privacy of law-abiding Americans, and hold government officials responsible for authorizing or committing torture. The resources provided here can be modified to suit the needs of any community.

Local Civil Rights Restoration Campaign

The Local Civil Rights Restoration Campaign (LCRRC) protects the fundamental rights and liberties of law-abiding Americans to be free of arbitrary monitoring, surveillance, detention, search, or arrest by local law enforcement authorities; and focuses local law enforcement agencies on their core public safety mission. 

In particular, the LCRRC limits local law enforcement agencies' participation in domestic surveillance, intelligence collection, and immigration enforcement, while restoring Fourth Amendment rights increasingly eroded by domestic surveillance. The LCRRC also includes strong protections against profiling according to race, religion, country of origin, or political speech; undercover infiltration of activist groups; and cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and military personnel. Finally, it includes a private right of action, and liquidated damages, for individuals whose rights are violated.

Restore due process and the right to trial

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law by on December 31, 2011. It contains provisions that allow the military to arrest, indefinitely detain, and deny a trial or day in court to anyone—even US citizens—accused of a “belligerent act,” or any terror-related offense.

The NDAA subjects these individuals to arbitrary detention without trial, denying the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process and Sixth Amendment rights to challenge evidence and confront one's accusers. The NDAA also endangers First and Fourth Amendment rights, because the PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of “material support for terrorism” to include crimes of speech and association even by defendants who neither committed nor ever intended to support violence.

One of the most effective ways to keep public attention on due process is to organize support for local statements or resolutions opposing military detention and supporting the right to trial. 

Resolution on executive accountability for torture

This resolution aims to restore the Nuremberg precedent and bring to justice all former and current government officials who approved or committed torture. It authorizes local authorities to investigate federal officials, engages them in continuing efforts to gain transparency into evidence that remains secret; and expresses the view of the municipality that the federal government should pursue both prosecution and an independent commission. An optional provision authorizes local law enforcement agencies to arrest and detain former officials accused of torture if discovered within the jurisdiction.

Kurt Daims, Coordinator for Torture Prosecution under Universal Jurisdiction, is available to assist with your local efforts to pass this ordinance.

Toolkit for local campaigns

This detailed toolkit offers step-by-step guidance about how to organize a coalition in your city or town, build public support for a civil liberties agenda, reach out to local officeholders, and achieve concrete change to protect constitutional rights.  The toolkit is also available as a PDF.

For more information on these campaigns, or to receive support for your local efforts from BORDC, please email Grassroots Campaign Coordinator Emma Roderick.

Resources

Resources for local campaigns, including talking points and background information.

See our Frequently Asked Questions.

See a map of current coalitions.