News / Press Releases


September 23, 2016

The California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) expresses its outrage over another fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer, urges peaceful demonstrations, and calls for a prompt and thorough investigation.

Based on information publicly available, Terrence Crutcher, 40, was shot last Friday by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma after police responded to a 911 call regarding Crutcher’s stalled SUV in the middle of the road. While facts are still under review, helicopter and police dashcam footage shows Crutcher raising his hands when he was shot. Information has also been released that police did not find a weapon on Crutcher or in his vehicle. Additionally, 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police on Tuesday, September 20th in Charlotte, North Carolina – specific details and video footage has not been released.

CABL President Camille Y. Townsend states, “CABL extends its sincere condolences to the Crutcher and Scott families and loved ones. While information is still surfacing, we continue to be deeply dismayed by these deaths and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. With respect to Crutcher, CABL is encouraged by the swift action by the U.S. Department of Justice, who have launched an investigation into this matter. We join the call of the community in their demands for transparency, increased training for public safety officers, and swift justice.”

As an organization, CABL, again, urges its members to engage in calm demonstrations and to channel any feelings of anger and fear toward action by demanding that our elected officials pass effective legislation that will put an end to gun violence and racial profiling, and foster better relations between law enforcement and the communities police officers are tasked to serve and protect.


CABL is dismayed over continuing incidents of violence. CABL is troubled by the most recent police-involved shootings that have resulted in the deaths of more African-American men – Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police on July 5th outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store, and a day later, Philando Castile was killed during a traffic stop near Minneapolis. We also are deeply disturbed by, and grieve the loss of, those Dallas police officers lost in the line of duty on July 7th.

While CABL urges swift action by law enforcement agencies to bring justice in the two most recent police-involved shootings, we also encourage individuals who are concerned about these horrendous series of events to demonstrate and protest peacefully and non-violently to protect the sanctity of life, and to avoid further distraction from our demands for accountability. We can each take a stand for the protection of lives and dignity of humanity, particularly of African-American men, and still respect the lives of those public safety officers from whom we must demand a higher standard. As an organization, CABL urges its members to channel any feelings of anger and fear toward action by demanding that our elected officials pass effective legislation that will put an end to gun violence and racial profiling, and foster better relations between law enforcement and the communities police officers are tasked to serve and protect.

CABL extends its sympathy and prayers to the families of both men as well as to the officers killed and wounded in the line of duty in Dallas. We must all do better, and change starts with us.




Click To View/Download Full Press Release (PDF)
Click To View/Download Full Press Release (PDF)

The National Bar Association has Filed a Lawsuit Against the City of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department Seeking Pertinent Information Related to the Shooting 

WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier today, the National Bar Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Ferguson, MO and the Ferguson Police Department seeking any and all incident reports, investigative reports, notes and memorandums prepared by Ferguson Police officers, in-dash camera video, photographs, cellphone video and recordings in connection with the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The National Bar Association also sent a Preservation of Evidence Notice to both entities requesting that they preserve the police officers’ raw notes of all statements, observations, and data collected from the scene of the incident, specifically including the officer involved and all responding officers, officer detail logs from the crime scene, and video & photographic evidence related to the August 9, 2014, fatal shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent arrests of protestors in the City of Ferguson.

“There can be no full, fair and accurate accounting in any state or federal criminal or civil action unless any and all footage is carefully preserved,” stated Pamela J. Meanes, President of the National Bar Association. “We want to ensure the family of Micheal Brown and the residents of St. Louis understand correct measures are being taken to protect evidence regarding this tragic incident.”

In wake of the recent events taking place in Ferguson and across the country, the National Bar Association has developed a task force that will evaluate complaints of police misconduct and/or police brutality nationwide, an online petition has been created calling for an independent investigation for the death of Micheal Brown Jr. and an open book request has been filed in 25 cities and states for information on police actions.

The lawsuit comes days after the City of Ferguson Police Department released the name of Darren Wilson, the officer identified of shooting Brown.

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students.The NBA is organized around 21 substantive law sections, 9 divisions, 12 regions and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit:

CABL’s reponse to United States v. Windsor

This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions regarding marriage equality both under federal law and in California.

In the case of United States v. Windsor the Supreme Court struck down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, as unconstitutional. In a 5-4 vote, the court stated, “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and render them unequal… By this dynamic DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples and all of the world that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition…this requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.” Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

In the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court ruled that the proponents of California’s 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, otherwise known as Proposition 8, lacked standing to defend the measure in federal courts. The decision vacates the appeals court ruling holding the measure unconstitutional, but leaves in tact a district judge’s ruling that also found the measure unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the court’s majority, joined by Justices Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

We encourage you to read the decisions in full. The link to the Windsor decision is and the link to the Hollingsworth decision is

The California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) was formed in part to change the face of the judiciary in California and to influence the course of events pertinent to black people. The objectives and purposes included “the stimulation of black lawyers in organized bar activities, to seek out and eradicate the roots and causes of racism, and to prepare the high standards of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession.” Other objectives included to vigorously defend black people from those who would consciously or otherwise deny them basic human and legal rights. Today’s decision is a milestone toward equal protection for many who have been denied marriage equality. CABL stands in support of its members and members of the community who have been positively impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

CABL’s reponse to Shelby County v. Holder

On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder. The decision strikes down a key and essential component of the landmark Voting Rights Act which allowed federal authorities to have an open-ended oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. There are at least 15 states with a sustained history of irregularities and discrimination in its voting procedures that have prohibited minorities and disadvantaged individuals from voting in key elections. The decision struck down the Section 4 formula which provided that any changes in voting laws and procedures in the covered areas — which include all or parts of 15 states — had to be “pre-cleared” with federal authorities before the localities could implement the voting procedures. The full decision is available at

The California Association of Black Lawyers (“CABL”) is extremely disappointed at the Supreme Court’s decision. CABL was formed in part to vigorously defend African Americans from being deprived of basic human rights and legal rights. CABL has worked with the National Bar Association and other minority groups over the last several decades, to assist with election protection efforts throughout the Country. The decision is a setback for voting rights as historically, minorities have been significantly impacted by discrimination in voting, which continues today. CABL is committed to support election protection initiatives and to educate our community of their rights. CABL encourages its members and the entire legal community to unite with the American people to fight any discriminatory voting laws until Congress can pass another Voting Act that ensures every person equal access to the polls.

CABL’s reponse to Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al.

On June 24, 2013,, in a 7 to 1 ruling, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al. In brief, the Fisher case addresses the use of race-based affirmative action policies to increase diversity. Today the Supreme Court upheld the use of race in affirmative-action programs by universities, but on very narrow and strict terms. Although universities will still be able to consider race in an effort to promote diversity, such race-based policies will be subject to strict scrutiny. Moreover, the means by which universities attain diversity must be narrowly-tailored to that goal and the universities will no longer receive deference on this issue. I encourage you to read the full decision at

The primary motivating factor for the California Association of Black Lawyers’ (“CABL”) formation was to “change the face of the judiciary in California and to influence the course of events pertinent to black people.” Another objective of CABL is to “vigorously defend black people from those who would consciously or otherwise deny them basic human and legal rights.” To that end we are pleased that the Supreme Court decision supports diversity as a goal in the University admission process. However, we recognize that this decision may raise difficult challenges for race-based affirmative action programs in the years ahead. We are hopeful that all who support diversity in education and the legal profession will rise to meet these challenges and will assist where possible and appropriate in developing programs that will continue to promote and support diversity.