ACLU Applauds Latino Partnership on Racial Profiling

December 14, 1999 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — Saying it represented another powerful blow against racial profiling, the American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the new partnership by the National Council of La Raza and the two largest organizations representing Hispanic law enforcement officials to fight improper police practices.

The historic partnership with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association and the National Latino Peace Officers Association was announced at a news conference here this morning, which cited a recent NCLR study that found that Latino-related law enforcement abuse and racial profiling have increased dramatically recent years.

“Racial profiling has created a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in communities of color,” said Rachel King, a Legislative Counsel with the American Civil Liberties. “Although racial profiling of African-Americans has received a great deal of media attention, its impact on Latinos has not been as widely reported. The partnership established today should help change that.”

Along with other civil rights organizations, the ACLU has made a major commitment to ending racial profiling, which is the first step in a process that disproportionately draws people of color into the criminal justice system. By unfairly targeting them based on their race and ethnicity, people of color are subject to police abuse on a regular basis. Addressing racial profiling, the ACLU said, is the first step toward eliminating racism from the criminal justice system. The National Black Police Association and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives have also joined the fight against racial profiling.

A Gallup poll released last week revealed that the majority of Americans believe that racial profiling is both widespread and unfair. The poll (at indicated that 59 percent of the American public believes that racial profiling is widespread; an overwhelming 81 percent disapproves of its use by police.

“Unfortunately, while the American people clearly want to put an end to racial profiling, far too many public officials seem unwilling to take the simple steps that are necessary — collection of basic data, withholding federal funding from agencies that continue to discriminate — to root out this problem,” King added.

Along with our civil rights and police partners, the ACLU is insisting that public officials all over this country — at the federal, state and local levels — act now on this problem. For example, the ACLU is also testifying today before the Pennsylvania Legislature, insisting that that state follow the lead of North Carolina and Connecticut by enacting legislation that would require data to be collected to identify whether traffic stop and search practices are being carried out in a discriminatory manner.

“In 1999, the ACLU supported anti-profiling bills in 20 different states,” said John Crew, coordinator of the national ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling. “We expect even more bills to be introduced — and passed — in the coming year.”

With the goal of ending racial profiling, the ACLU this year launched its Campaign Against Racial Profiling. Earlier this year the ACLU released a major public policy report on the problem, launched a national hotline — 1-877-6-PROFILE — for people who feel that they have been targets of racial profiling, promoted anti-profiling legislation at the federal level and pushed law enforcement agencies to voluntarily collect traffic stop data to measure the scope of racial profiling, and litigated several racial profiling cases around the country.

More information on the campaign and a web-based reporting form can be found at: /profiling

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