Civil Rights Group Files Lawsuit Against Sheriff Hodgson
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is being sued by a civil rights group over his decision to enter into a federal immigration enforcement program, as well as his offer to send Bristol County inmates to build President Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico Border.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice filed suit Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court against Hodgson, to obtain public records related to the 287G program that will allow his staff to identify and detain inmates who may have entered the country illegally. The group alleges Hodgson violated the state's public records law by refusing to release documents in response to its request.
Sophia Hall, staff attorney at the Lawyers' Committee and one of the attorneys on the case, tells WBSM News it's not just about finding out how much of state funding is being used on the 287G program.
"We certainly, as a civil rights organization, do not want to see some of the anti-immigration rhetoric in the media over the 287G program potentially result in any racial profiling issues," she said.
Hodgson announced in January that his office would join the controversial immigration program, and failed to provide the requested documents to the Lawyer's Committee within the required 10 days.
"It's unfortunate that we have to resort to the courts, but no one is above the law, not even the sheriff here," Hall said. "So we do expect that the law will prevail, and that we will get these documents through compulsion of the court."
Hall said it's disconcerting that Hodgson didn't offer up the information when requested.
"We have an elected official who threatens to drag inmates from their jail down to the southern border to build a wall, who encourages the community to arrested elected officials who support sanctuary city policies, but then we asked to follow the law himself, fails to do so," she said.
Sheriff Hodgson's office said he will issue a response after he has had time to review the lawsuit.