Orrick Pro Bono Team Helps Secure Police Reforms in Massachusetts Civil Rights Case

1 minute read | February.02.2024

We collaborated with Lawyers for Civil Rights in the settlement of a major civil rights case brought against the Town of Arlington Police Department on behalf of a young black man stopped and held at gunpoint in an incident of racial profiling.

The case was brought on behalf of Donovan Johnson, who was wrongfully arrested in 2021 by Arlington police actively pursuing a white man suspected of a disturbance at a nearby hotel. Police abandoned the pursuit to stop Johnson at gunpoint, wrestling him to the ground and handcuffing him; he was released without charges 45 minutes later.

As a result of the settlement, the police department will be required to undertake significant reforms to curb racial profiling. Johnson will also receive compensation. 

“We are pleased that the Town of Arlington has acknowledged that this incident presents an opportunity to reevaluate officer training and adopt reforms that prioritize respectful and dignified treatment for everyone who encounters the Arlington Police Department,” said Orrick partner Stephen Hall, who led our pro bono team.

The team also included associates Loren Hampton and Ollie McNicholas.