Should racial profiling in the United States be illegal? Speakers, representing both sides of the issue testified at a United States Senate subcommittee hearing that was convened to examine this question.
The hearing, held on April 17, 2012, was called Ending Racial Profiling in America and at the heart of the hearing was a proposed bill, the End Racial Profiling Act, which was first introduced in 2001.
Over the years, the bill was reintroduced several times and was last introduced in October 2011 as the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011.
If passed the bill would prohibit any law enforcement agent or law enforcement agency from engaging in racial profiling. It would allow the victims of racial profiling to sue the offending agents or agencies, and it would establish policies and programs to eliminate racial profiling. The bill has several other major provisions, all of which can be viewed here.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and, according to Sen. Cardin, it is "supported by the NAACP, ACLU, the Rights Working Group, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and numerous other organizations."
Two different panels testified during the subcommittee hearing. The first panel consisted of United States representatives. The second panel consisted of a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union, a representative from a conservative nonprofit research and educational organization and several police officials, including East Palo Alto's Interim City Manager and Police Chief Ronald Davis (See the testimony of the participants on the second panel here.).
During his testimony, Davis said that he "had the honor of testifying at the last Senate hearings on racial profiling in 2001." He ended his remarks by saying, "As much as I am honored to be here today, I’d prefer if there was no need for me to testify in another ten years."
Sen. Cardin said that he will use the hearing to refine the provisions in the bill to get it passed. He said, "I hope that today’s hearing can be a step towards ending racial profiling in America, at long last."
To contact Sen. Ben Cardin by email go to http://www.cardin.senate.gov/contact/
To contact Sen. Harry Reid by email go to: http://www.reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
To see the ACLU's petition to Congress to end racial profiling go here.
To contact the author of this article, Traci Moore email firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional East Palo Alto Today resources:
See an excerpt from the Talking with Henrietta videos:
Racial Profiling: Have Any Changes Been Made? taped in 2010.
Crime, Violence and Racial Profiling, taped in 2009
The Future of Racial Profiling, taped in 2008.