Racial Profiling

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What is racial profiling? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defines racial profiling as “the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin” (2005). Do not confuse racial profiling with criminal profiling; criminal profiling is usually practiced by police in which they use a group of characteristics that are associated with crime to target individuals (ACLU, 2005). Examples of racial profiling include using ones race to target specific drivers for traffic violations and pedestrians for illegal contraband; another prime example is the targeting of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians since 9/11 in
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In New York City’s police department report in December 1999, the stop and frisk practices showed to be greatly based on race. In NYC, blacks make up 25.6% of the city’s population, Hispanics 23.7% and whites are 43.4% of NYC population. However, according to the report, 50.6% of all persons stopped were black, 33% were Hispanic, and only 12.9% were white. As you can see, more than half of the individuals who were stopped were black, 62.7% to be exact (ACLU, 2013). In Orange County, California Latinos, Asians and African Americans were more than 90% of the 20,221 men and women in the Gang Reporting Evaluation and Tracking System (ACLU, 2013). Clearly this database record shows racial profiling occurred when the total population in the database made up less than half of Orange County’s population. This is when the California Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the ACLU stepped in. One other instance of racial profiling I’d like to discuss occurred in Maricopa County, Arizona. A court ruled in May 2013 that “sheriff Joe Arpaio’s routine handling of people of Latino descent amounted to racial and ethnic profiling”; according to CNN, the sheriff’s office had a history of targeting vehicles with those having darker skin, examining them more strictly and taking them into custody more often than others (CNN, 2014). Judge Murray Snow ordered a monitor to oversee retraining in this
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