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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable

by Erwin Chemerinsky,
The Huffington Post, January 10, 2017

On October 6, 1976, Los Angeles police officers stopped Adolpho Lyons, a twenty-four year-old African American, for driving with a defective taillight. With guns drawn, four cops ordered Lyons to get out of his car, spread his legs, and put his hands on top of his head. After he was patted down, Lyons dropped his hands; an officer slammed them back, applying his forearm to the throat in a chokehold. Lyons fainted. When he recovered, he was spitting blood and had urinated and defecated. The police issued a citation for the broken taillight and released him.


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