Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is law enforcement and private security practices that disproportionately target people of color for investigation and enforcement. The ACLU works on behalf of individuals who have been victims of racial profiling by airlines, police, and government agencies. Our work also encompasses major initiatives in public education and advocacy, including the creation of essential resources, lobbying for the passage of data collection and anti-profiling legislation, and litigation of airline and highway profiling cases.

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"People in <em>Your</em> Hood Ride Bikes to Shoot People."

"People in Your Hood Ride Bikes to Shoot People."

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:22pm
This week, 22-year-old Modesto Sanchez told lawmakers of the Massachusetts Legislature about the day he and his friend rode their bikes down the street on which Sanchez lived, only to be stopped and frisked within minutes by Boston police officers. One officer asserted, "People in your hood ride bikes to shoot people." Modesto, who was 16 years old at the time, and his friend were found to be doing nothing wrong. Embarrassed, shocked, and hurt, Modesto asked for an explanation. The officer responded, "We had to stop you. You look suspicious."
Plaintiff Shoshana Hebshi

Making Flying While Brown Safe Again

By Rachel Goodman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:31pm

When Shoshana Hebshi boarded Frontier Flight 623 on September 11, 2011, she was heading home to Detroit Metro Airport from a visit to her sister in San Francisco. She couldn't have foreseen that being seated next to two other brown-skinned people would…

Madonna Pappan

U.N. to Confront United States on Persistent Racial Discrimination

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:18pm

Imagine the government taking away your two children in a hearing that lasts less than 60 seconds.

Madonna Pappan and her husband, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, don’t have to imagine it, because it happened to them. And…

#DearMrPresident: Stop Profiling Us

The Perversity of Profiling

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 2:19pm

The Justice Department is considering revised racial profiling guidance that, if issued, could set back race relations and basic fairness in this country. We hope that it does not make that mistake.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that…

Real People Aren't Target Practice

Real People Aren't Target Practice

By Joyce Hamilton Henry, ACLU of Florida at 11:16am

This was originally posted by the ACLU of Florida.

The pictures of six black men stared back at me from the screen, the images of their faces shredded by bullet holes. It seemed like some kind of sick threat, but it was the work of a Florida…

A Taxicab Confession for a Post-Ferguson America

A Taxicab Confession for a Post-Ferguson America

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:33pm

I had just finished a conversation with a local reporter comparing the events in Ferguson, Missouri with the disproportionate arrests of black people in Shreveport, Louisiana, for nonviolent offenses, when I noticed the driver had taken an interest…

Profiling Won't Save Us

Profiling Won't Save Us

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:50am

This piece originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog.

The Obama administration this week announced new guidance on how federal law enforcement agents may use race and other characteristics, such as religion and national origin, in their…

Boston Police Have a Racially Biased Policing Problem, and a Golden Opportunity to Reform

Boston Police Have a Racially Biased Policing Problem, and a Golden Opportunity to Reform

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:22pm

During the summer of 2011, then-19-year-old Ivan Richiez was robbed at gunpoint and pistol-whipped by two men in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Bruised and bloodied, Ivan walked home passed the local Boston Police Department (BPD) precinct.…

This Secret Domestic Surveillance Program Is About to Get Pulled Out of the Shadows

This Secret Domestic Surveillance Program Is About to Get Pulled Out of the Shadows

By Julia Harumi Mass, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California & Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:32pm

The federal government will have to produce information on a vast and secret domestic surveillance program and defend the program's legality in open court. That's the result of a decision issued Friday by the federal judge presiding over our lawsuit…

The DEA’s "Cold Consent" Encounters: Definitely Cold, Not So Consensual

The DEA’s "Cold Consent" Encounters: Definitely Cold, Not So Consensual

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:25pm

When law enforcement officers stop and question people for no particular reason, or in the case of the Drug Enforcement Administration, based on a vague perception that a person exhibits "characteristics indicative of drug trafficking," is it any wonder…

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