Racial Justice Law Clinic Students Present Oral Arguments on Behalf of the NAACP and Urban League in Case Against City of Minneapolis and its Police Officers

Leaders of the Minneapolis NAACP and Urban League–Twin Cities had no idea that they were being surveilled online by Minneapolis police officers for as long as a decade until the Minnesota Department of Human Rights revealed the practice in its 2022 report on racially discriminatory policing in the city.

This tactic and others used to falsely interact with individuals—including creating fake social media accounts that targeted Black people without a public safety objective—prompted the organizations to file suit in federal court with the help of Minnesota Law’s new Racial Justice Law Clinic. Students enrolled in the clinic developed the case against the City of Minneapolis and 20 unnamed police officers, pursuing punitive and compensatory damages for violating plaintiffs’ civil rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The case exemplifies what Liliana Zaragoza envisioned when she launched the clinic at Minnesota Law in 2022. An associate clinical professor of law, Zaragoza came to the Law School from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF). The Minneapolis NAACP connected to her through the LDF, seeking help with its potential litigation. “This case was one of the very first things the clinic worked on,” Zaragoza says. “One of the central components of the clinic is building community relationships and working with existing advocates doing racial justice work, organizing, and policy.”

Read the full story in the digital edition of Minnesota Law magazine. 

Liliana Zaragoza
Liliana Zaragoza
Associate Clinical Professor of Law