Arkansas Mom Fights To Hold Police Accountable

In January 2018, Haden and Weston Young—two boys, aged 12 and 14—were heading home from their grandparents’ house. As they approached their home, a police car came around the corner with its lights on. The car stopped and the officer emerged with his gun drawn. Within moments, the officer—who was looking for two grown men who’d fled from police earlier—shouted “get on the ground,” handcuffed the boys, and held them at gunpoint.

The boys’ mom, Cassi Pollreis, rushed to the scene. The officer ignored her pleas, pointed his Taser at her and shouted to get back inside. For six terrifying minutes the boys lay face down on a sidewalk while the officer paced around them with his gun pointed at their backs. Eventually the officer’s sergeant arrived, immediately realized a mistake had been made and let the boys go.

Cassi sued and the district court found that the officer had violated the boys’ Fourth Amendment rights. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the boys had never been “arrested” at all. Instead, it said that what constitutes an arrest “can be hazy,” and that the officer’s conduct did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Now, with the help of IJ, Cassi and her boys have asked the United States Supreme Court to take up their case. We’ve filed a Petition for Certiorari asking the Court to rein in the ever-expanding doctrine of “stop and frisk” and make clear that the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from being arrested without probable cause.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of watching my boys being held at gunpoint. I was terrified for them. No mother should have to witness that. We’re asking the Supreme Court to fix this so that no one has to go through what my boys and I went through.”
IJ Client Cassi Pollreis

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