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Mississippi police unconstitutionally jailed people for unpaid fines, Justice Department says

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A Mississippi police department in one of the nation’s poorest counties unconstitutionally jailed people for unpaid fines without first assessing whether they could afford to pay them, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday. The announcement comes amid a Justice Department probe into alleged civil rights violations by police in Lexington, Mississippi. The ongoing investigation, which began in November, is focused on accusations of systemic police abuses in the majority-Black city of about 1,600 people some 65 miles (100 kilometers) north of the capital of Jackson.

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