VTDigger Minute: ICE search, hemp harvest, excessive police force


VTDigger Minute is a weekly news digest from Vermont PBS. Tune in every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 6:30 a.m. to hear about the week’s top stories.

This week on the Minute:

Vermont one of two states that complied with ICE search of driver database

Vermont is one of two states known to have allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials search its DMV’s photographic database, new research has found. DMV conducted searches with facial recognition technology for ICE and other federal agencies including the FBI between 2013 and and 2017. The practice raised concerns from privacy and civil rights activists, and in 2017, Gov. Phil Scott called on the DMV to end the practice.

With hemp harvest weeks away, profits are anyone’s guess

Vermont hemp processors and growers are expecting prices for the crop to drop this year. Hemp industry experts say the number of growers in the state and the supply of the crop have increased dramatically. At the same time they don’t think there are enough processors to turn the hemp into CBD oil or other products.

Burlington police deny excessive use of force in response to lawsuits

And Burlington police are denying allegations that they used excessive force during an altercation with three black men last September. The men filed a lawsuit against the department, and videos show police used physical force against them outside a Burlington bar.

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Xander Landen

About Xander

Xander Landen is VTDigger’s political reporter. He previously worked at the Keene Sentinel covering crime, courts and local government. Xander got his start in public radio, writing and producing stories for NPR affiliates including WBUR in Boston and WNYC in New York. While at WNYC, he contributed to an award-winning investigation of how police departments shield misconduct records from the public. He is a graduate of Tufts University and his work has also appeared in PBS NewsHour and The Christian Science Monitor.