Racial profiling by law enforcement is a serious and ongoing issue. According to the ACLU, racial profiling is a term that describes when law enforcement officials target and discriminate against people because of their race, ethnicity, national origin or religion.
Unfortunately, racial profiling leads to:
- False arrests – unlawfully restraining an individual
- Excessive force – unnecessary force by police that results in personal injury
- Malicious prosecutions – facing court proceedings after illegal confinement
- Prisoner mistreatment – mistreatment or neglect during incarceration
Here are some of the most prominent examples of racial profiling:
Walking while black or brown
African-American and Latino individuals experience discrimination simply while walking. This is especially true in New York City. Black and Hispanic people are overwhelmingly targeted and stopped by police more than white citizens. Disturbingly, there is no sign of the problem stopping. The NYPD made a whopping 685,724 forcible stops in 2011, most of them with young minorities.
Profiling after the September 11th tragedy
September 11th is a day of mourning and reflection for everyone in the United States, especially for those of us in New York City. Unfortunately, the attacks resulted in an increased targeting of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians. These people often face detention for immigration violations, even when they do not have any connection to the terrorist attacks at all.
People of color often face disproportionate punishments from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Sometimes, the INS takes action against workers because of their ethnicities or nationalities without evidence necessary to arrest or detain them. Establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause is crucial to justify INS action. There are even lawsuits against the INS because of inappropriate profiling.
It is important to know your civil rights and understand how to protect yourself if you are a victim of racial profiling. You may be racially profiled by a police officer, TSA agent or security guard. If you believe you are the victim of unlawful racism, you should look into taking legal action against the officer, department or municipality.