SJLF Complaint Takes Aim at Racial Profiling and Police Misconduct in Louisiana

“My dad always said, right is right. And what happened to me just ain’t right. I want justice for me and for my community,” said Mr. Clark. “This has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

On May 19, 2022, Social Justice Legal Foundation (SJLF) and ACLU of Louisiana sued, on behalf of Alexander Clark, the Sheriff of Livingston Parish, the Chief of Police of the Denham Springs Police Department, the City of Denham Springs, and several law enforcement officers for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments based on their alleged unconstitutional racial profiling, seizure, searches, and excessive force during and after his traffic stop.  

Mr. Clark’s complaint alleges that this stop was no anomaly, but instead evinces a widespread pattern and practice within the Sheriff’s Office and Police Department of targeting the sole majority-Black neighborhood in Livingston Parish for excessive stops and searches based on race. 

Mr. Clark is a 67-year-old retired tradesman and grandfather. He has significant family ties to the historically black neighborhood and visits it frequently.  

His lawsuit describes how Mr. Clark was pulled over by deputies of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office while attempting to get gas in the neighborhood. After Mr. Clark provided his license and registration, Sheriff’s deputies searched his truck repeatedly and without consent. The deputies forced Mr. Clark to sit on the back of his truck for nearly 30 minutes, while they rifled through his belongings and tools, and made demeaning comments about what they expected to find. Despite finding nothing, the Deputies—alongside a Denham Springs Police officer, forcefully arrested Mr. Clark, wrenching his hands behind his back and forcing him down, tearing tendons and fracturing bones in his right hand.  The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Clark had multiple surgeries and suffered significant pain as a result of these injuries.  

“My dad always said, right is right. And what happened to me just ain’t right. I want justice for me and for my community,” said Mr. Clark. “This has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.” 

SJLF Fellows Alyssa Martinez and Emily Olivencia-Audet, along with Senior Attorney Claire Simonich and attorneys at the ACLU-LA, collaborated to bring the complaint on behalf of Mr. Clark. “The inhumane treatment, degrading comments, and pain the officers inflicted on Mr. Clark, a pillar of his community, are a poignant example of what it means to simply exist as a Black individual in Livingston Parish,” said Ms. Martinez. “The Parish is hyper-segregated and has a deeply entrenched racialized history. It’s time Livingston Parish and Denham Springs are held accountable for the racist targeting and overpolicing of the Black community as described in this lawsuit.” 

The complaint was brought as a part of ACLU-LA’s Justice Lab initiative, which aims to challenge racially discriminatory police practices by focusing intensive litigation efforts on a single state. Nora Ahmed, ACLU-LA’s legal director, explained “Mr. Clark’s case is exactly the type of advocacy we set Justice Lab up to pursue: tenacious litigation which brings accountability to under-resourced communities in Louisiana, where all too often, unlawful and racist policing goes unchecked.”  Launched in 2020, 37 cases have been filed as part of the Justice Lab initiative. 

To read the full complaint, click here.

If you or your loved ones have had similar experiences in Livingston Parish or Denham Springs, we want to hear your story. Contact us at 

Press Contact: Michelle Moore, ACLU of Louisiana,