Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker defended his department against a lawsuit accusing the department of unconstitutional policing practices that target African-Americans.

“Our deputies are professional law enforcement officials who enforce Mississippi laws,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “If a law is broken, appropriate action is taken regardless of the race of the one breaking said law.”

When reached for questions, Madison Co. Sheriff’s Department spokesman Heath Hall told Mississippi Today it was department policy not to comment on pending litigation.

The federal lawsuit accuses the sheriff’s department of running a “top-down program” of selectively targeting black communities with unconstitutional policing tactics such as “show-ID-and-search pedestrian checkpoints, roving roadblocks, ‘jump outs’ by plainclothes deputies in unmarked cars, and warrantless home invasions,” a release from the ACLU stated.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.