✎✎✎ An Argument Against Racial Profiling

Friday, September 10, 2021 5:49:16 PM

An Argument Against Racial Profiling



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Cop Caught Arresting the Wrong Man in Racial Profiling Incident - NowThis

Then, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, by January and February , Attorney General Warren directed the preparation of maps showing all Japanese-owned lands in California, called upon the state's district attorneys to enforce the Alien Land Law against Japanese landowners, and said the presence of Japanese in California provided the opportunity for a repetition of Pearl Harbor. And by March he advocated the exclusion of all Japanese from within miles of the California coast. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the interest in preserving the safety and security of the nation was put in direct conflict with the American democratic ideal of racial equality.

The noble cause of equality in that circumstance yielded to our concern for security. Subsequent experience shows that exclusion to be one of the great injustices of WWII visited upon American residents. Congress has since passed laws ordering reparations from those American residents separated from their homes, businesses and lands. Although the Supreme Court's holding in Korematsu, that the Government in time of war had justified racial discrimination in the name of national security is still the law of the land, many lower courts have recognized the injustice wrought by the Japanese internment and we should not forget it.

In , the Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Terry v. Then Chief Justice Warren, joined by seven other members of the Court, held that it is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment for an officer to detain and search a man's person for a weapon in absence of a search warrant, so long as the officer acts upon a reasonable belief based upon objective factors that the man is armed and dangerous.

The Court's decision in Terry has been interpreted by lower courts countless times over the years to allow the brief detention and search of persons by law enforcement officials when officers are acting upon reasonable suspicion that criminality is afoot. The lexicon of the criminal justice community now refers very casually to such stop and frisk encounters as "Terry" stops, and over the years these brief detentions have been relied upon by officers with ever increasing frequency to stop and investigate suspicious characters.

In in Whren v. United States, amid growing concern over the use of Terry stops as a prophylactic law enforcement tool, the Supreme Court reiterated the objective nature of the inquiry into a law officer's basis for a Terry stop. The Court held that an officer's subjective motivation has no part to play in the Fourth Amendment analysis of justification for a stop and search when the officer can articulate objective reasons. Out of the Terry line of cases, as fortified by the Court's decision in Whren, law enforcement agencies all over the country advocated pre-textual stops and encounters with citizens as good proactive policing. The practices are most often deployed through a casual traffic stop occasioned by a burned out taillight or some other minor vehicle code violation.

But in recent years, at first anecdotally, then more empirically, it has been demonstrated that the Terry procedure has been used disparately to detain and interrogate black or brown people. In late , the New Jersey state police became the first major law enforcement agency to admit to the stop and detention of disproportionate numbers of black men. Since then, state legislatures all over the country have wrestled with legislation aimed at banning racial profiling, and there has been tremendous outcry to study its effect and occurrence among major law enforcement agencies.

For example, the LAPD has been required as part of a consent decree with the USDOJ to collect data that may reveal patterns of racial profiling by officers in traffic stops. Just this year Governor Davis vetoed a bill designed to require local police agencies to report statistics on traffic stops in order to detect patterns of racial profiling. After litigation was field by the ACLU over the veto of this bill, the Governor and Highway Patrol have instituted the program by executive order. As recently as March , Attorney General Ashcroft condemned racial profiling as "[A]n unconstitutional deprivation of equal protection under our Constitution.

So, racial profiling as the term has been employed in recent public debate, refers to government activity directed at a suspect or group of suspects because of their race, whether intentional or because of the disproportionate numbers of contacts based upon other pre-textual reasons. Under Fourth Amendment analysis, objective factors measure whether law enforcement action is constitutional, and under the Fourteenth Amendment challenges to the practice are assessed under the customary strict scrutiny test for racial classifications. It is against this historical and legal backdrop that we should take a look at our law enforcement and internal domestic security response to the horrific acts of September 11th.

In the weeks following September 11, federal, state and local law enforcement officials worked feverishly to investigate those responsible for the most reprehensible crime on American Soil and to assess our state of vulnerability to further acts of terrorism. As part of those efforts conclusions about the ethnicity and national origin of the prime suspects was inescapable. This crime was committed by a group of foreign nationals of middle eastern descent. Immediately law enforcement officials focused special investigative efforts upon foreign nationals from middle eastern countries, often in disregard of any other factors warranting suspicion.

In December, federal investigators began voluntary interviews with more than 5, young middle eastern men who entered the United States within the last two years from countries that were linked to terrorism. Federal officials have contacted administrators at more than two hundred colleges and universities to gain information about students from middle eastern countries. What are their majors? Where do they live?

How often do they miss class? They have followed up these efforts with unannounced visits and interviews with the students. Some local police chiefs who have worked hard to rebut concerns over racial profiling have resisted cooperation with these federal efforts on the ground that the interviews appear to violate departmental policy or state and local laws. The Center is created to analyze and process the thousands of tips and leads of suspicious activity that began pouring into state law enforcement agencies in the days following September 11th. The effort has been to separate the wheat from the chaff and disseminate to law enforcement information that truly reflects suspicious activity or reliably warrants concern.

In just January and February of this year, 1, subjects were reported to the database. Two Hundred and twenty eight of them had criminal histories and were the subjects of ongoing investigations. These policies have unjustly expanded the purview of and undermined basic trust in local law enforcement, alienated immigrant communities, and created an atmosphere of fear. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has led to a dramatic increase in hate crimes against and racial profiling of Latinos. Racial Profiling. Facebook Twitter Reddit Email Print. Living while Black on Campus: a Roadmap for Student Activism We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities.

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