Utah youths fleeing the brown of northern Utah for the green of St. George this Easter weekend will find the city greener than ever in the wake of an ACLU drive to educate young people on what to do if police harass or brutalize them.
The American Civil Liberties Union is showering St. George with green leaflets aimed at the teenagers and college students crowding the town for spring break."We want them to know they have the right not to be hassled by police," said Michele A. Parish, director of the ACLU's Utah Chapter.
Attached to the fliers are forms people can fill out and send to the ACLU if they believe local police have violated their rights, she said.
"We ask them to describe the incident and get the badge number and name of the officer involved," she said.
"Citizens have to obey the law. But they have the right not to be harassed or roughed up. If they have been, they should contact us," she said.
The ACLU decided on the leaflet campaign after learning that St. George was beefing up law enforcement during the annual spring flood of vacationing youths.
Parish said the city was deputizing citizens during spring break. "We want to encourage good police practices and protect citizens against governmental abuse of power," Parish said.
"We want the police to know the public cares about what they do. I think competent, professionally run police departments welcome public scrutiny."
The St. George police could not be reached for comment.