Alston v. City of Madison, No. 16-1034 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Madison Police Department established a focused deterrence program to increase surveillance of repeat violent offenders. Alston, one of 10 repeat violent offenders originally selected for the program, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming that he was selected for the program because of his race, and arguing that his inclusion in the program deprived him of liberty without due process of law and that he was stigmatized and subjected to increased surveillance, penalties, and reporting requirements. Alston presented evidence that blacks accounted for only 4.5 percent of the Madison population but 37.6 percent of arrests and 86 percent of the program; four candidates associated with allegedly black gangs were selected while the one candidate associated with an allegedly white gang was not. The district court granted the defendants summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Alston failed to produce evidence that would allow a reasonable trier of fact to conclude that the program had a discriminatory effect or purpose or that Alston’s legal rights were altered by inclusion in the program. Alston’s statistics did not address whether black, repeat violent offenders were treated differently from white, repeat violent offenders and were not evidence of discriminatory effect.