LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska has created a new “Freedom Fund” to provide direct legal support to Nebraskan protesters who are cited or arrested during racial justice protests.
The advocacy organization launched the fund Friday with an initial investment of $100,000.
The money will cover a variety of identified needs, including:
- Payment of bail
- Fines and fees
- Transportation assistance to court hearings
- Legal representation for people who were not provided a public defender, yet cannot aford legal representation otherwise.
The funds will primairly include people charged with violating curfew or other minor violations and not facing the threat of jail.
ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said the funds seek to undo the damage of law enforcement and city officials’ response to the protests. The ACLU has encouraged city officials to dismiss pending cases and exercise mayoral pardon authority. In the absence of those actions, the ACLU is stepping in.
“Protestors shouldn’t be punished for opposing police violence and systemic racism, they should be celebrated. Thousands of Nebraskans faced tear gas and attempts to silence their voices and now hundreds are dealing with criminal repercussions for having the courage to speak out, many of them black and brown Nebraskans. The ACLU will always be on the side or racial justice and free expression,” Conrad added.
The funds will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Requests can be submitted online or through email.
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