Racial Profiling by the Police

Full Video Transcript

Racial profiling occurs when law enforcement uses race or ethnicity as a factor when conducting stops, searches and other investigative procedures. It’s based upon the false assumption that individuals of one race or ethnicity are more likely to engage in misconduct than individuals of another race or ethnicity. It’s wrong and it’s illegal. Racial profiling not only reinforces negative racial stereotypes but also violates a number of civil rights and antidiscrimination principles in place to maintain liberty and justice for all. In general, law enforcement officers are not supposed to use race as a factor when making routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions. Unless the race or ethnicity is in regard to a specific suspect’s description, and information about a specific suspect’s description must be trustworthy and relevant to an identified criminal incident, etc. Now, there may be specific exceptions under law for example in connection with complicated national security matters. But generalized racial profiling is often considered a discriminatory practice of law enforcement, and subject to a variety of legal penalties including Department of Justice investigations and individual lawsuits to remediate those unlawful practices.

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