The Truth is Powerful

Cushman: Everyone Needs Proper Civil Rights Education

(Design by Sydney Stam | The Daily Utah Chronicle) In 1990, Clifton Spencer became the prime suspect in the murder of Stacey Stanton and police arrested him on separate charges to keep him in custody. Spencer alleges that police repeatedly questioned him without a lawyer and even broke protocol by taking him out of the county he was arrested in. At the time, Spencer did not realize the police officers violated his rights. The next year, Spencer was given a life sentence for the murder of Stanton, despite weak evidence against him and many prosecutors doubting his guilt.

People like Spencer are taken advantage of because they do not know their rights. Of the many injustices in our legal system, this is perhaps the most egregious one. We need to make sure our education system teaches people what their rights are and how to defend those rights. Utah needs to amend its civics education to include comprehensive civil rights teachings. Civil Rights Violations and Misconceptions

Some civil rights violations are obvious. Salt Lake City police firing 10 shots at a 13-year-old autistic boy believed not to be armed clearly exemplifies excessive force. Other violations may not be as obvious, […]

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