Detained Fishermen Have A Strong Case Against US Coast Guard – ACLU

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The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, says the Jamaicans they allege were previously detained arbitrarily by the US Coast Guard have a strong case for damages.

The ACLU is suing the US Coast Guard for the 2017-2018 detention of four Jamaican fishermen for more than a month at sea in allegedly inhumane conditions.

ACLU Lawyer, Steven Watt, told Nationwide News today that his organization is seeking to stamp out a practice that has been utilized by the US Coast Guard for years.

Chevon Campbell has that story.

Mr. Watt says the US Coast Guard must be held accountable for the treatment it allegedly meted out to the four Jamaicans.

The four men, Luther Patterson, David Williams, Patrick Ferguson and Robert Weir are the first to bring such a civil case against the US Coast Guard.

According to the suit, the men were held incommunicado by the coast guard across four different vessels, shackled, exposed to the elements, with little to eat or drink and no medical treatment.

The ACLU alleges the US Coast Guard held the men for trafficking marijuana but could not find any of the drug on either their person or the vessel.

The men were eventually charged and plead guilty to providing false information regarding their destination.

However, Mr. Watt says this is a common tactic used by the authorities, where those held under duress are urged to plead guilty to a lesser charge as a means of getting home quickly.

A fifth Jamaican, George Thompson, was also held.

However, Mr. Watt says he was so traumatized by the incident he has refused to be party to the suit.

The attorney says along with proper compensation for the fishermen, the ACLU will be calling for the courts to quash the practice being used by the US Coast Guard.




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