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.

In Court Today: Challenging FBI Secrecy on Racial and Ethnic Profiling

In Court Today: Challenging FBI Secrecy on Racial and Ethnic Profiling

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:00am
The ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan are in federal appeals court today, in a challenge to the FBI's refusal to make public information about which American communities it's spying on. The argument comes in a lawsuit we filed in 2011, after the FBI refused to respond to our request for information about the implementation of its racial and ethnic mapping program in Michigan. (Read more about the case here.)
The War on Marijuana Has a Latino Data Problem

The War on Marijuana Has a Latino Data Problem

By Lynda Garcia, Soros Fellow, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 11:49am

We know that the War on Marijuana unnecessarily drags hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system every year for having marijuana. And, because of a new ACLU report, we know that it is Blacks who are disproportionately arrested–…

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically

"Joe's Law" Gets the Boot: A Lawyer for the Plaintiffs Explains

"Joe's Law" Gets the Boot: A Lawyer for the Plaintiffs Explains

By Andre Segura, Immigrants' Rights Project at 10:13am

Plaintiffs have established that the MCSO had sufficient intent to discriminate against Latino occupants of motor vehicles. Further, the Court concludes that the MCSO had and continues to have a facially discriminatory policy of considering…

Immigration Enforcement Doesn't Belong in the Courthouse

Immigration Enforcement Doesn't Belong in the Courthouse

By Reverend Elmer Zavala Gonzalez, Minister Member of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery at 4:39pm

In a matter of minutes, I went from seeking justice, to bearing witness, to being racially profiled.

My youngest son who is 3 years old often accompanies me as I do my duties as a minister member of our Mid-Kentucky Presbytery in Louisville.…

Shopping While Black: Harms Go Deeper Than You Think

Shopping While Black: Harms Go Deeper Than You Think

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:03pm

Just in case we need reminders that too many people share the bias linking all black people with criminality, New York newspapers over the last two weeks were filled with stories of Black and Latino shoppers who were questioned and detained for suspicion…

End the Numbers Game: Police Should Not Be Rewarded for Making Marijuana Arrests

End the Numbers Game: Police Should Not Be Rewarded for Making Marijuana Arrests

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 1:40pm

Every 37 seconds, another person is needlessly ensnared in the criminal justice system just for having marijuana...

Want to Restore Fairness to the Criminal Justice System? End Racial Profiling

Want to Restore Fairness to the Criminal Justice System? End Racial Profiling

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:35pm

Just over a year ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on racial profiling in over a decade on the heels of the murder of 17-year-old Florida resident Trayvon Martin.

His death gave a face to the terrible practice of racial…

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