ACLU of Tennessee Launches Statewide Campaign to End Racial Profiling
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NASHVILLE, TN — The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee today announced a statewide campaign to fight racial profiling, the law enforcement practice of disproportionately stopping and searching racial minorities for no reason except the color of their skin.
The Tennessee ACLU’s campaign is modeled after the national ACLU’s “Arrest the Racism” campaign to end racial profiling, a practice that many have dubbed “DWB,” or “Driving While Black or Brown.”
“Racial profiling has created a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in communities of color,” said Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee. “Through our campaign, the ACLU will alert people of their rights, empower them to speak out about their experiences and advise law enforcement of their responsibilities. We will also be developing strategies for law enforcement training and accountability in an effort to abolish racial profiling in Tennessee.”
Weinberg said the campaign will focus on increasing awareness of the problem across the state; identifying the extent and prevalence of the problem in Tennessee; and seeking solutions to eradicate racial profiling through training, community outreach and organizing, and if necessary, litigation.
Specifically, tactics will include:
- urging voluntary data collection by highway patrol, police chiefs, and county sheriffs;
- introducing and lobbying for legislation that will mandate the collection of data by all law enforcement;
- creating a statewide racial justice task force; and
- organizing town meetings and public education forums.
Weinberg said her group’s action was fueled in part by the emerging national consensus that racial profiling is widespread. Results of a recent Gallup Poll and reported incidents across the country reaffirm the need for grassroots action against racial profiling. According to the poll, released in early December, the majority of Americans — both black and white — 59 percent of the American public believes that racial profiling is widespread, and an overwhelming 81 percent disapproves of its use by police.
“This poll shows why the ACLU has launched its campaign and why we’ll be mounting an all-out assault on racial profiling in the coming year,” Weinberg said.
In a widely circulated report issued last summer, “Driving While Black: Racial Profiling On Our Nation’s Highways,” the national ACLU documented the practice of substituting skin color for evidence as a grounds for suspicion by law enforcement officials. As part of its national campaign, the ACLU has established a hotline (1-877-6-PROFILE) for people who feel they have been targets of racial profiling, lobbied in support of anti-profiling legislation in Congress, and litigated numerous racial profiling cases around the country.
More information on ACLU’s “Arrest the Racism” campaign can be found at http://archive.aclu.org/profiling.
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