|Racial Profiling Ongoing News Summaries
Last Updated 04/12/01
|Editor's Notes: Read carefully the news and "spin" about racial profiling. Most of the "damning" evidence which alleges to prove that police engage in racial discrimination against black motorists (so-called profiling) consists of flimsy, associative statistics rather than proof of criminal activity. In jurisdictions where a higher proportion of minority (black) motorists are stopped for traffic infractions, notice that (1) Proof is rarely offered that the black motorists were innocent of the alleged traffic offense; and (2) The question of whether the selected minority group might have worse driving habits than non-minorities is never considered. --Tim Fay, Editor.]|
Arrest, Race Data Stymies Police (03/03/01)
"Montgomery County police wrote 5,000 more traffic citations during the first eight months of last year than during the comparable period in 1999. But there still are no statistics available for the last four months of the year -- when officers began to be required to report each traffic stop and the demographics of the motorists involved.
"An analysis of traffic stop data for the police department's first quarter of operation under a settlement of a four-year civil rights probe with the Justice Department had been scheduled for public release last month.
"Montgomery police and Justice officials said they are trying to break down the demographic data -- compiled from entries officers make into palm-size computers -- and that the process has delayed the release of a report. Police officials and the Fraternal Order of Police want to make sure that the data analysis takes into account the racial makeup of an officer's beat.
"Police Chief Charles A. Moose and other police officials say the increase in the number of traffic citations in the first eight months of last year -- to 55,000 -- shows that the Justice probe has not had a "chilling effect" on officers.
"Moose acknowledged in an interview that the federal agreement has caused some anxiety and apprehension among officers. He said they wonder about its ultimate meaning and how people will perceive the department. Moose stressed that the Justice probe did not find evidence of police brutality and that "collecting data doesn't mean there were findings of racial profiling. We make traffic stops here on the behavior of the drivers," Moose said. "Racism continues to exist in America, but we hope it doesn't exist when we're performing our duties."
"The Justice Department's investigation of Montgomery County police, prompted in part by two traffic stops within two weeks that ended in the fatal shootings of two blacks, did not find that civil rights laws were violated. But Justice officials said that county police issued 21 percent of traffic tickets to black drivers; blacks account for 12 percent of the county's population."
Significantly, the Justice Department did not offer any proof that Montgomery County, Maryland police treated minority motorists in a racist fashion, nor did Justice prove that the police were racist in any way whatsoever.
(Excerpted from the Washington Post story by Phuong Ly on page B02 03/03/01)
Ashcroft To Combat Racial Profiling
"Attorney General John Ashcroft, calling racial profiling by police a ``tragedy'' with ``really human consequences,'' is asking Congress to pass legislation authorizing a government study of how often the practice occurs during local traffic stops. ``It's wrong,'' Ashcroft said Thursday. ``This is as big a problem as you can get.'' Racial profiling is the practice by law enforcement officials of singling out people based on their race.
Ashcroft said he was moved by the story of a man who was driving with his 12-year-old son and stopped twice in the same trip by police. ``It indelibly marked me with an understanding that racial profiling has really human consequences,'' Ashcroft said at a Justice Department news conference, two days after President Bush told Congress he wanted to see racial profiling stopped. Ashcroft said a bill introduced in the previous Congress by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., to study racial profiling on the local level would be a good place to start. As he envisions it, the bill would authorize the Justice Department to conduct a study of traffic stop data that is already being voluntarily collected by law enforcement agencies around the country."
(Excerpted from the Associated Press, via the New York Times)
With racial profiling, even research is suspect (03/05/01)
"Like some A-team of pencil-wielding statisticians, a band of researchers from North Carolina State University piled in a rented van last summer and hit the highways to scope out scofflaws. Their mission: to determine, to the extent possible, if any racial profiling - police disproportionately pulling over motorists who are minorities - goes on along North Carolina highways. While the full results won't be known for several months, preliminary indications show that police in North Carolina are more likely to stop minorities than whites - in fact, 20 percent more likely.
"But the question is: Why? Are the police motivated simply by racial prejudice? Or are there other reasons for the disproportionate ticketing of African-Americans - for instance, because they speed more often than whites? The very question is sparking controversy here and across the country about a study that is one of the most extensive under way on racial profiling in America. Under the direction of lead researcher Matt Zingraff, the project is not only cataloging how many blacks and whites are pulled over for supposedly driving too fast along North Carolina highways. It is also trying to determine if there are different driving habits between the races. The decision to pursue that notion has gotten Mr. Zingraff labeled a "police apologist" and the purveyor of "loony science." A local NAACP group has condemned the effort as an attempt to single out black Americans as criminals. But Zingraff defends his work as essential to trying to fathom the complex motivations that may lay behind a practice that has haunted race relations since the early 1990s. "I'm just amazed when I hear people saying things about racial profiling with certainty," he says. "We've done more research than anyone on this, and I realize I may never know the whole truth. But we are trying to get closer.""
(Excerpted from the Christian Science Monitor 03/05/01)
"Research into racial profiling has taken a new turn in North Carolina, where a new study poses a sensitive question: Does ones race indicate ones pace on the roadway. North Carolina State University in Raleigh has received $472,000 from the U.S. Justice Departments National Institute of Justice to study traffic data collected by state police in North Carolina and speeding patterns of motorists. Among other things, the study will explore an explanation commonly used by police officers: They stop more minority motorists because more minorities speed. "This project will examine whether the North Carolina Highway Patrol officers stop minorities on the road at higher rates than whites, which factors motivate highway stops, and how ethnic minorities respond to police stops," the U.S. Justice Department said. Until now, most of the data-collection involving racial profiling has centered on the behavior of police officers rather than on the behavior of motorists. But that is changing slowly as the issue has begun to draw the attention of state legislatures, federal law-enforcement agencies, academic researchers and civil-rights groups. ... Collecting information on drivers behaviors adds another important layer to information on police-ticketing patterns, said Dr. Matthew Zingraff, an associate dean for research at North Carolina State Universitys College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who is heading the research project. "We are not trying to evaluate the position taken by police," he said. "Good science would tell you that we have to examine the behavior of the police as well as the behavior of citizens." Zingraff admitted his research leaves room for errors: it tracked motorists only during certain daylight hours, and the survey limited itself to tracking speed and not other traffic violations. "Our research will be a factor that people can consider during a discussion on racial profiling. It is one more bit of information that we now have," he said."
(Excerpted from Diversityinc.com)
DPS search rate higher for minorities (03/02/01)
(DALLAS) "Black and Hispanic motorists who are stopped by state troopers are more than twice as likely to have their vehicles searched as white drivers, the first seven months of statistics compiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety show. State lawmakers who want to require police departments to keep such records said the figures show what they have suspected all along: that minorities are being unfairly targeted. "Absolutely, it is racial profiling," said Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat. .. University of Texas economics professor and statistician Dwight Steward analyzed the tickets and warning citations at the request of The News. He looked for other factors that could explain the racial disparity, such as time of day, particular officers, type of road, type of car, out-of-state status or whether multiple infractions were noted. "I looked at all of those factors and not any other factor could explain the differences we were seeing," he said. The vast majority of searches occurred on interstate highways, not farm roads, and most were not late at night, Dr. Steward said. "I've turned it a lot of different ways. The only other thing I could say is Hispanics and blacks did things disproportionately to make themselves get searched. But I could not identify other factors," he said."
(Excerpted from the Dallas Morning News story by Christy Hoppe 03/02/01)
Ending racial profiling: New President Joins Chorus (03/02/01)
(BERGEN RECORD EDITORIAL) "PRESIDENT BUSH is the newest and highest-ranking official voice making the welcome pledge to end racial profiling. In his address to Congress this week, Mr. Bush promised equal treatment for all citizens. Of racial profiling, which discriminates against minorities, he said: "It's wrong, and we will end it in America." It's amazing that it took this long for some sort of national recognition that this problem must be solved. Mr. Bush has asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to recommend how best to end the use of racial profiling by police, and Mr. Ashcroft met this week with black members of Congress to assure them that he is "eager" to solve the problem. Prompt action is a good way for Mr. Ashcroft to persuade blacks that he is serious about civil rights issues. The president's pledge adds to the momentum that already exists to end this ugly practice, momentum that began with the scandal in New Jersey. Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., says he will introduce legislation to ban racial profiling, with penalties for police who violate the ban. In Trenton, Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco has also promised a ban. And the state Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold hearings later this month on the recent history of racial profiling in New Jersey and why the problem was ignored for years. Witnesses are expected to include several former attorneys general, including state Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero, and former superintendents of the state police."
(Excerpted from the Bergen Record 03/02/01)
Bush Directs Ashcroft To Review Racial Profiling Procedures (02/28/01)
"President George W. Bush Wednesday directed Attorney General John Ashcroft to "review the use by federal law enforcement authorities of race as a factor in conducting stops, searches and other investigative procedures." Bush's memo to Ashcroft, tackling the issue of racial profiling, came only hours after the president promised a joint session of Congress he would act on the issue. In his memo, Bush asked Ashcroft to "work with the Congress to develop methods or mechanisms to collect any relevant data from federal law enforcement agencies and work in cooperation with state and local law enforcement in order to assess the extent and nature of any such practices." In his speech to Congress Tuesday night, Bush addressed the problem of racial profiling in blunt terms. "As government promotes compassion, it also must promote justice. Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation's justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally. It [racial profiling] is wrong and we will end it in America," the president said. Meanwhile, Attorney General Ashcroft met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill Wednesday. After the meeting, Ashcroft told reporters, "The president issued a directive to me last night [Tuesday]. We're going to follow the president's directive, but we are also going to enforce the laws that are on the books.""
ASHCROFT PLEDGES END TO RACIAL PROFILING (03/01/01)
"Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday vowed to stamp out racial profiling by cops, after President Bush ordered him to look into it.
"Ashcroft, who met with the Congressional Black Caucus yesterday to discuss its members' gripes with the Bush administration, said he believes the practice of singling out black males as automatic suspects is unconstitutional. Racial profiling is a hot topic in New York, where police practices are under federal probe in the wake of several killings by cops. The Justice Department recently decided against bringing federal charges against four white police officers acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, 22, an unarmed West African immigrant, as he stood in the doorway of his Bronx apartment building. Bush, in a memo released yesterday by the White House, ordered Ashcroft to "review the use by federal law-enforcement authorities of race as a factor in conducting, stops, searches and other investigative procedures." Bush also suggested Congress come up with a way to collect racial profiling data "to assess the extent and nature" of the practice in states. In his speech to Congress on Tuesday night, Bush said racial profiling was "wrong, and we will not do it in America.""
(Excerpted from the New York Post story by Marilyn Rauber 03/01/01)
Saint Paul shifts toward finding racial profilers
"The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday rejected a prolonged study of racial profiling in favor of immediate action to uncover instances where drivers have been stopped because of their race and then to discipline the responsible officers. "We have to assume that racial profiling goes on in the St. Paul Police Department," said Council Member Jerry Blakey. "For us to go through a very expensive study would not be the best use of our resources. We need to go after those problems." Council members directed police officials to return in March with a plan to identify officers who appear to be making traffic stops based on race and to develop training programs to eliminate the practice. One proposal would have officers record each stop and explain why it was made. "We need to find a way to identify these misbehaving officers," police spokesman Michael Jordan said. According to data released by the department in January, St. Paul police made about 42,000 stops between April and December. The data showed that 19.6 percent of black drivers and 16.7 percent of Hispanic drivers were frisked or had their vehicles searched, compared with 8.5 percent of white drivers and 9.2 percent of Asian drivers. Chief William Finney and other city officials have said that the data were limited and didn't answer several important questions; they suggested an expanded study expected to cost as much as $100,000. Wednesday's action caught at least some officers by surprise. "That's totally different from what I heard last month," Brad Jacobsen, president of the St. Paul Police Federation, said Wednesday. "They were going to cough up some money and do a proper study." Council members and police officials said Wednesday that they hoped the direct approach would speed the process of weeding out problem officers."
Profiling initiative wins praise from N.J. leaders (03/01/01)
"New Jersey politicans responded positively to President Bush's call on Wednesday to battle racial profiling, but they will wait to see what steps he proposes before rendering final judgment. Their reaction came on the same day Attorney General John Ashcroft met with black congressmen who had opposed his appointment as head of the Justice Department. "I am eager to respond to the president's charge" to fight racial profiling, Ashcroft said. He did not go into specific plans publicly, but Congressional Black Caucus members provided details given to them. "What it sounds like he is trying to do is make sure he has enough information to put forth meaningful legislation," Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said. In his first address to Congress on Tuesday night, Bush directed Ashcroft to come up with recommendations to end racial profiling by police officers. "Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation's justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals," Bush said in his speech. "All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally" In New Jersey, state Sen. William L. Gormley, R-Atlantic, said it was important for Bush to mention the fight against racial profiling because it keeps the issue on the national agenda."
(Excerpted from Paul H. Johnson story in Bergen.Com 03/01/01)
Text of President Bush's Speech to Congress on His Budget Plan (01/02/28)
"Following is a transcript of President George W. Bush's message to Congress last night, as recorded by The New York Times: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress: It's a great privilege to be here to outline a new budget and a new approach for governing our great country. As government promotes compassion, it also must promote justice. Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation's justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally. Earlier today I asked John Ashcroft, the attorney general, to develop specific recommendations to end racial profiling. It's wrong and we will end it in America."
Minority residents accuse officers of racial profiling (02/27/01)
Sub Head: "Law enforcement officials defend traffic stops"
"From auto shop owners to Charleston City Council members, nearly 20 minority residents Monday accused some law enforcement officers of stopping and questioning minorities based solely on race. Local law enforcement officials said the issue was more complicated and less severe than some speakers made out. The comments came at a tense yet largely civil town meeting in North Charleston on racial profiling, the practice of stopping people based solely on their skin color. The forum was sponsored by the S.C. Legislative Black Caucus and the S.C. Progressive Network, a coalition of civil rights groups. Both groups want laws passed to track and stop racial profiling. Only a handful of South Carolina law enforcement agencies keep racial profiling statistics. The meeting drew about 80 people. Of the about 20 people who spoke to the panel, two were white, two Latino and the remainder were black. A few speakers flung wild allegations, but offered no proof. Others said they were stopped for legitimate reasons, but said they were handcuffed or searched for relatively minor offenses. Charleston County Councilman Tim Scott and Charleston City Councilman Wendell Gilliard, who were on the panel, said they thought they had been stopped for what is sometimes called "driving while black." "I would say to my brothers, it's not just being black while driving; it's being black while living," Gilliard said. Juan Frias, a Mexican immigrant and social worker, said he was singled out from a group of speeding cars. After showing a driver's license, the officer demanded a Social Security number and green card."
(Excerpted from the story by Ben Brazil on Charleston.net 02/27/01)
Sharpton speaks to U. Pittsburgh crowd (02/22/01)
"The Rev. Al Sharpton addressed University of Pittsburgh students on the William Pitt Union lawn yesterday. After telling students that they still live in an era when people can be treated differently based on the color of their skin, the Rev. Al Sharpton mocked a group of protestors and referred to his accomplishments in the fight to end racial profiling. He said, "I'm the only one that ever got anything done," and called the eight protestors gathered a "sad showing." Sharpton then reminded the students gathered on the William Pitt Union lawn for the rally against racial profiling that they must be stronger than those who fight against them. "This is not a fight just for people of color," he said. The rally, sponsored by Student Government Board and Black Action Society, hosted four speakers to discuss the issue of racial profiling. SGB members Sara Dadlani and Jay Dworin organized the rally. Before the program began, Dworin and Dadlani addressed the crowd. Dworin reminded students that they had been brought together to rally against racial profiling. "We will not tolerate this practice," he said. He announced that SGB had arranged for people from national, state and local political arenas to discuss the issue of racial profiling. Dadlani then spoke, first defining racial profiling as "any action taken by law enforcement officials, prior to or during a person's contact with the legal system, that is based upon racial or ethnic stereotypes and that has the effect of treating a person of a minority group differently than that of the non-minority.""
(Excerpted from The Pitt News U. Pittsburgh (U-WIRE) story 02/22/01 by Leslie Hoffman)
House acts to monitor racial profiling (02/22/01)
(COLORADO) "A bill designed to stop police from stopping motorists based solely on the color of their skin passed the House on Wednesday.
"The unanimous decision to accept a scaled-back version of the bill marked a rare victory for House Democrats this session. "With the passage of Rep. (Peter) Groff's bill, the state House has made a strong statement that there is a problem with racial profiling in Colorado and that something should be done," said the Rev. Willie D. Simmons, president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance."
(Excerpted from the Denver Post article by Trent Seibert 02/22/01)
(MINNESOTA) "A disproportionate number of minority drivers are stopped by law enforcement for minor reasons than are white drivers. That's called racial profiling, when a driver' s race or ethnicity is used as a predictor of crime rather than behavior or fact by evidence. Does it happen in Bemidji? We hope not. Can we be sure it isn' t? No. Long before " racial profiling" became a buzzword in Minnesota, the practice was long alleged in Bemidji by members of area American Indian reservations. Most members have tribal license plates, which are easy to pick out -- anytime of day or night. A special race relations law enforcement panel was established in the 1980s to hopefully come to grips with such complaints, but few were made, supposedly out of a fear of reprisal. The Minnesota Legislature is now considering a host of bills to study racial profiling in Minnesota, and would provide valuable information to what formerly has been charged only in urban Minnesota among black drivers. But this week we learn that racial profiling also hits the Hispanic, Asian and American Indian communities. Joe Day, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, said in story this week that while attending an Indian softball tournament in Bemidji, he found a Bemidji police officer in the parking lot, checking license plates -- most of them tribal plates. Confronted by Day, the officer said he was checking for outstanding warrants and Day wondered if the officer would do the same at white tournaments. A number of bills are before the Legislature calling for studies into racial profiling, ranging from a mandatory study of all 502 law enforcement agencies in the state complete with badge numbers accompanying officer stop reports, to a voluntary reporting system under suggested guidelines to track profiling."
What About Negative Stereotypes? (02/20/01)
"For years and at different levels we get fired up by the fear of creeping social estrangement. The "quest for community," was one great expression of this fear, and recent misgivings on the matter of bilingual education and the centrifugalization of America are often heard. One division of this social quandary is racial profiling, what it says, and what it does. John Derbyshire, writing in National Review, has brilliantly examined the question and its implications. ... There are those who do not wish to linger over the use of racial profiling as a means of maximizing community protection. Prof. Randall Kennedy of Harvard concedes that crime is disproportionately committed by different racial groups. Yes, he says, outlawing racial profiling will reduce the efficiency of police work, and increase the burden on them. So? "Racial equality, like all good things in life, costs something; it does not come for free." Unhappily, goo-goo political analysis does come for free, and can drive a stake through the heart of purposive thought. ... The law does and should prohibit discrimination, but applications of that law have to conform with basic realities. "The city of San Jose, California, for example, discovered that, yes, the percentage of blacks being stopped was higher than their representation in the city's population. Ah, but patrol cars were computer-assigned to high-crime districts, which are mainly inhabited by minorities." The Supreme Court is not blind to reasonable distinctions. If race is only one factor in the questioning of suspects, it can be authorized. The critical point is: No one should be detained or questioned where race is the single distinguishing element. "I have been unable to locate any statistics on the point, but I feel sure that elderly black women are stopped by the police much less often than are young white men." Among the new Attorney General's challenges is to insist resolutely that due process be affirmed, without emasculating elementary approaches to crime detection."
(Excerpted from William F. Buckley in the National Review on 02/20/01)
Racial profiling bill delayed again but stays alive (02/20/01)
(COLORADO) "Rep. Peter Groff has been waiting more than a week now for the chance to debate his bill that would monitor possible racial profiling in Colorado's biggest cities and counties. The Denver Democrat's bill has been one of the House minority party's greatest, perhaps one of the only, victories so far this year. Groff has negotiated to save it from certain death in committee at least twice. House Bill 1114 was scheduled for debate before the House last week, but a full schedule postponed it. And then postponed it again. And again."
(Excerpted from the Denver Post story by Trent Seibert)
COMMISSION TO HEAR COP'S ALLEGATION OF RACIAL PROFILING (02/20/01)
Subhead: "Veteran Officer Seeks Outside Investigation"
(AURORA, ILL) "An Aurora police officer who contends his department is engaging in racial profiling is expected to explain his complaint to the city's Human Relations Commission this week. Alois Tiegelman, a 28-year veteran of the Aurora police force, first informed his superiors about a year ago of what he believed was racial profiling, according to a complaint he has filed with the commission. It makes Aurora the latest police department in the Chicago area to have been accused of targeting motorists on the basis of race."
(Excerpted from Chicago Tribune story by Jeff Coen)
Racial profiling exists in state, panel finds (02/19/01)
(WISCONSIN) "Anecdotal evidence of racial profiling exists in Wisconsin, but "without empirical data" a governor's task force was unable to comment on its extent, a report that became available Monday says. Instead of calling for mandatory data collection, the Governor's Task Force on Racial Profiling called for voluntary data collection by law enforcement agencies, a uniform definition of racial profiling and clear written policies that prohibit race-based decisions by police agencies. It also said that while there was interest by the task force and law enforcement in new initiatives, there was no support for new programs in which there is no funding. The report said that anecdotal evidence came in four common citizen complaints given to the task force. They included:
"Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, said he had not completely finished analyzing the report, but he said he was surprised by the low-key nature of the release of the report. It was mailed out by the task force and posted on the Governor's Web site last week when it was released."
(Excerpted from the Georgia Pabst story in Jason Online 02/19/01)
(CINCINNATI) "Eight widely varying complaints of alleged racial profiling have been filed with the city's Office of Municipal Investigation since Jan. 1, 2000 four last year, when the agency started categorizing them separately, and four so far in 2001. Five of the investigations continue, and two were referred to the police division for further investigation. One was closed, with OMI determining the officers acted properly. No two complaints name the same officer. Among them: Gary Fields of Covington complained in June 2000 about a November 1999 incident. He said he was stopped at Vine Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, handcuffed and searched, but never asked for identification. When he questioned the officers, he said he was then told he was driving without a license. He was not charged."
Officials ponder how to measure racial profiling (02/18/01)
(CINCINNATI) "Cincinnati officials will start talking this week about a plan to measure racial profiling in a way they hope will produce more than just numbers. The new chairman of City Council's law committee, John Cranley, plans to propose that outside statisticians be used. They could develop the best way, he said, to count all traffic stops made by Cincinnati officers and make sure the numbers will be analyzed objectively. ... When San Jose released its race counts of almost 100,000 drivers stopped between June 1999 and June 2000, the numbers showed 41 percent were Hispanic (compared with 31 percent of the residential population); 7 percent were African-American (4.5 percent); 16 percent were Asian (21 percent); and 32 percent were white (43 percent). The statistics did show some residents were stopped disproportionately to their representation in the overall population, angering the city's minority community. But others questioned their validity because of the counting system. Some researchers have stood on street corners and tracked the races of actual drivers to measure an area's driving population.
Cincinnati officials aren't suggesting that yet. But they want to avoid creating a process that ends without definitive answers. "The question is, "If we count, what are we going to do with that information?'" Mr. Cranley said. "We have to have a plan.""
(Excerpted from the Cincinnati Enquirer report by Jane Predergast)
Attorney joins team on profiling class action (02/16/01)
(CINCINNATI, OH) "A Cincinnati attorney with a long record of litigating civil rights issues, including some with the city, has joined the legal team preparing a class action lawsuit alleging racial profiling and other abuses by Cincinnati Police. Alphonse Gerhardstein joins Ken Lawson and Scott Greenwood, general counsel of the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union, in pursuing the action. ''It's an important case and we'll be a good team,'' Gerhardstein said Thursday. He wouldn't discuss specifics of the case. ''Ken's got a real good start,'' he said. ''We've got to tie up some loose ends and write up the law.'' The case must be filed by a mid-March deadline set by U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott if it is to incorporate previous federal cases alleging police abuse into a class action. Lawson, who has represented clients in some of those cases, wouldn't say Thursday whether that still is the strategy his team is using."
BILL TARGETS PROFILING FOR TRAFFIC STOPS BY OFFICERS (02/15/01)
"Responding to a spate of complaints about racial profiling, a House Democratic lawmaker won committee approval Wednesday of a proposal to require police to record the race of drivers who are stopped or ticketed. The proposal's goal is to measure the extent of racial profiling in Illinois and send a message that stopping people based on race will not be tolerated, supporters say. The bill would further require police to explain why an officer stopped a vehicle and report if and why a search was made. The information would be compiled and reported to the legislature and the governor each year. The proposal's sponsor, Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), said he will amend the bill to require the records for only two years, at which time the legislature can determine whether the law should continue."
(Excerpted from the Chicago Tribune story by Joe Biesk 02/15/01)
Profiling Bill Dies In Senate (02/15/01)
(UTAH) "The mostly white, male, Mormon Senate doesn't believe Utah has a race problem. They said as much Wednesday as they narrowly voted down a proposal that would have required the state Driver License Division to collect and maintain information on the race of any motorist pulled over or cited. House Bill 199 went down on a 13-13 vote. That changed to a 12-14 defeat when a supporter switched sides so he could try to revive the measure. Sponsored by the Utah Legislature's only African-American, Rep. Duane Bourdeaux, and the sole Latino, Sen. Pete Suazo, both D-Salt Lake City, HB199 was aimed at determining whether law enforcement here does use racial profiling. The practice also is known as targeting motorists "driving while black, or driving while brown." "This is a very important issue to Utah's ethnic minority community," said Suazo. "It is time we got away from these anecdotal stories" about racial profiling. He added his hope would be "we disprove that there is any prejudice in law enforcement.""
(Excerpted from the Salt Lake Tribune story by Dan Harrie 02/15/01)
2 council members press for ordinance on profiling (02/15/01)
(CINCINNATI) "Racial profiling may be against city policy, but some of Cincinnati's top lawmakers said Wednesday they want it spelled out in black and white. They are pushing for immediate passage of an ordinance prohibiting racial profiling, the alleged practice by police officers of stopping motorists or pedestrians be cause of their skin color. "This will not be buried in committee any longer," Councilwoman Alicia Reece promised Wednesday, saying that for months council has allowed the new law to languish. Council members asked for an ordinance just after the death of Roger Owensby Jr., who was asphyxiated Nov. 7 while in police custody. "Now in 2001," Ms. Reece said, "we still haven't had a racial profiling issue before us." The American Civil Liberties Union and lawyer Ken Lawson are preparing a lawsuit against the city, alleging that police practice racial profiling. In other cities, similar lawsuits have resulted in departments having to track the race of every driver stopped, including those not cited or arrested."
Black leaders seek to testify on profiling (02/13/01)
(NEW JERSEY) "Lawyers and aides for a state Senate committee planning open hearings into New Jersey's racial profiling controversy continue to interview potential witnesses, from the state's top judge to low-ranking state troopers. Now members of the minority community want to weigh in. As executive director of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, the Rev. Reginald Jackson said he hopes he will be able to testify as well. Blacks have been mistreated by state police officers for years, and it is time for detailed explanations, Jackson said. New Jersey has offered evidence of that abuse in nearly 100,000 pages of internal state police records the Attorney General's Office has released in recent months."
(Excerpted from Associated Press via Bergen.Com by AP reporter John P. McAlpin)
Adventures in Profiling (02/12/01)
The reader is deputized in the search for a hoodlum. Mr. Dunphy* is an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department February 12, 2001 1:35 p.m.
"John Derbyshire and Roger Clegg performed a valuable service in distilling the arguments for and against racial profiling on these pages (if that's the proper term) last week. As best I can sum up their views and still have space remaining for my own ramblings, it seems that Mr. Derbyshire sees racial profiling as perfectly rational and acceptable given the disproportionate numbers of certain races represented in the pool of criminal offenders, while Mr. Clegg calls the practice immoral and destructive, as it leads to resentment among those law-abiding citizens who see themselves the targets of undue police attention. Though I lack their academic and journalistic credentials, I thought NRO readers might nonetheless enjoy the perspective of one whose experience in the matter has been more practical than theoretical."
Mrs. Clinton Takes On Racial Profiling and Gift Issues (02/12/01)
"Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton toured Brooklyn yesterday to announce a plan to end racial profiling but ran into new questions about accepting gifts while still the first lady. During her visits to three Brooklyn churches, where she seemed to find supportive audiences, Mrs. Clinton countered an article in The New York Post yesterday that said she had failed to disclose expensive handbags, dresses and other items given to her when she lived in the White House. When she finished talking to the congregations about her plans for legislation to ban racial profiling, she paused on the sidewalk to address the questions about the gifts. "All the gifts were appropriately dealt with," Mrs. Clinton said after an appearance at the Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church. "We followed the procedures that all the presidents have followed." ... At all three churches, Mrs. Clinton's proposal for legislation outlawing racial profiling was welcomed. Mrs. Clinton said she had agreed with Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey to push for the ban. Mrs. Clinton told the congregations that singling out criminal suspects on the basis of their race violated basic notions of fairness and equality. "Racial profiling is real, and it's harmful," she told a group of worshipers gathered at the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights. Mr. Kauffmann, her aide, said she and Mr. Corzine had discussed the proposed legislation in recent days. But he said that the details exactly how it would work, and to what agencies it would apply had not been decided. Mrs. Clinton's comments follow several recent developments about the use of racial profiling by police officers in seeking out criminal suspects. This month, New Jersey's attorney general agreed to pay nearly $13 million to settle a lawsuit arising from a 1998 incident in which three young minority men were shot and wounded by state troopers during a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. Criminal charges against 128 other defendants who claimed that their arrests followed racially motivated stops were also withdrawn. Federal prosecutors also concluded that the New York Police Department's Street Crime Unit had engaged in racial profiling. That unit was responsible for the February 1999 death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed street vendor who was shot and killed by four plainclothes officers. The officers were acquitted on criminal charges. Many parishioners at the churches Mrs. Clinton visited said they had known people who had been stopped for no apparent reason other than their race. At Concord Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Violet Coleman-Edwards said she had warned her son Charles Jr., a senior at Howard University, that he might be singled out by the police. "I told him: `You know what color you are. When you encounter a law enforcement officer, you keep your mouth shut, answer the questions, take down the name on the badge and the number on his car,' " Ms. Coleman-Edwards said, "You have to be black to understand.""
NEWARK: MAJORITY OPPOSE PROFILING (02/12/01)
"For the first time, a statewide poll shows that a majority of New Jersey residents are very bothered by racial profiling. Fifty-five percent of respondents to a Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll released yesterday said they were bothered "a lot" by the practice of stopping drivers because of race. Two in five residents, including more than 80 percent of blacks, said the state police treated minority drivers worse than white drivers. The poll, based on telephone interviews with 806 New Jersey residents between Jan. 24 and 30, has a margin of error of four percentage points."
Bush says he'll look into racial profiling (02/01/01)
"President Bush said Friday he is open to addressing the police practice of racial profiling. "I'll look at all opportunities," he said during a visit to a local school to mark Black History Month. Bush said he would start by seeking ways the federal government could help local police jurisdictions compile data "to get the facts on the table, to make sure people are treated fairly in the justice system." Bush's comments came a day after the White House said it was planning a series of meetings with various groups concerned about racial profiling. No meetings have been scheduled, although the International Association of Chiefs of Police has requested one to discuss its proposal for a panel to investigate the practice. Bush did not address the question of whether he would consider banning racial profiling through an executive order. In an interview with The Associated Press, White House chief of staff Andrew Card did not rule out an executive order but cautioned: "Even if there were an executive order, that wouldn't eliminate racial profiling." "We have to hope that people's relationships with each other will change so they don't profile in a negative way," Card said. "He wants to find ways to eliminate the problems, but there are no easy solutions. He'd love to have some help in finding ways to get to them. Racial profiling, in a law enforcement sense, is not right, and it should not be practiced."
Senate Committee Passes Bill On Profiling (02/10/01)
"Lawmakers successfully drove Rep. Duane Bourdeaux's traffic stop statistics bill through a Senate committee Friday. The proposal would determine how often police officers stop people based on their race, gender or age. Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Ron Stallworth, a self-described "proud black man of African descent," said ethnic minorities in Utah feel alienated from mainstream society and distrust law enforcement. Though he supports the bill, he expressed concern that minority groups sometimes unfairly stereotype law enforcement officers.
"I'm too black for white people to accept, but often too blue for my ethnic brothers," he said, adding that Bour- deaux's bill would help bridge that gap by addressing assumptions from both sides of the issue. James Gonzalez of the Utah Coalition of La Raza said minorities are pulled over more often than white drivers and "the pounding effect of that is a deteriorated trust in police." Some legislators disagree."
(Excerpted from the St. Louis Tribune story by Mike A. Kelly)
RACIAL PROFILING: Assorted Articles
"Did the [New Jersey] State Police use racial stereotypes to select people to stop, search and sometimes arrest? More and more evidence reveals that the practice of racial profiling was ingrained in the department."
Anti-profiling lawyers team up (02/10/01)
Sub Head: Cases claiming police racism gathered
"Two lawyers previously preparing racial-profiling lawsuits against Cincinnati will work together on one case instead. Ken Lawson and Ohio ACLU general counsel Scott Greenwood met Thursday and decided to consolidate efforts. Other lawyers also may get involved. They are gathering examples of citizens who say they've been racially profiled, or stopped by Cincinnati police officers solely because they are black. "There are advantages to working on one coordinated effort with as many people as we can bring to the table," Mr. Greenwood said Friday. When talks about a possible suit began in November, the ACLU initially worked with members of Cin cinnati Black United Front, the group known for its boycotts of Cincinnati restaurants and businesses. The group's leader, the Rev. Damon Lynch III, then switched lawyers to Mr. Lawson, saying Mr. Lawson was already further into the process because he had several existing lawsuits with race components."
(Excerpted from the Enquirer story by Jane Prendergast)
Complaint alleges racial profiling
Sub Head: Aurora Human Relations Commission to investigate charges
"A longtime Aurora police officer has filed a complaint with the city's Human Relations Commission against the Police Department, saying the department retaliated against him for bringing up allegations of racial profiling and did not take his suspicions seriously enough. Officer Al Tiegelman, a 28-year veteran of the force, filed a request for investigation and hearing with the commission late last week. Tiegelman is asking the Human Relations Commission to investigate the department's arrest procedures and policies; to make a finding that the department has sanctioned racial profiling and has retaliated against Tiegelman unjustifiably; and to appoint a disinterested third party to determine the extent of racial profiling in the department. Based on an allegation brought to light late in 2000, the Police Department sent letters to all 270 sworn officers, telling them an official internal inquiry would start in mid-December into the extent of racial profiling in the department."
(Excerpted from the story by Brian Shields)
END Racial Profiling Ongoing News Summaries
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