YLC Files DOJ Complaint Over Use of Pepper Spray
Youth Law Center and 10 San Diego area organizations today filed a formal complaint urging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the use of Oleoresin Capsicum spray (pepper spray) and other questionable practices used in San Diego County juvenile detention facilities. The complaint offers extensive evidence that pepper spray is routinely used in these facilities in violation of youths’ constitutional rights to be free from excessive force and not to be incarcerated in conditions that pose a substantial risk of serious harm. These practices disproportionately impact youth of color. While Latino and African American youth make up 53% of San Diego County’s total high school enrollment, they comprise 81% of all youth detained in the county’s five juvenile detention facilities. The complaint was jointly filed by the Youth Law Center, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. and a San Diego area coalition of community organizations, El Grupo, the NAACP San Diego Chapter, Border Angels, Latinos Organizing for Action, Alliance San Diego, CSA San Diego County, American Friends Services Committee-San Diego, the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association and Kali Konnect.