Conn. City Celebrates M.L.K. Day by Banning Racial Profiling

Affiliate: ACLU of Connecticut
January 18, 2000 12:00 am

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STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT – According to the Associated Press, Stamford is the first community in Connecticut to formally ban racial profiling, a practice in which minorities are targeted by law enforcement because of their race.

”The state Legislature has passed laws against the practice, but we thought we needed more,” Mayor Dannel Malloy said Monday.

AP reported that the Mayor read the Stamford Police Department statement to participants in a celebration to honor Martin Luther King Jr. The policy was drafted in cooperation with clergy, union, police and other community officials.

”This is a pro-active step to ensure that we all have fair and equal treatment under the law,” said the Rev. Michael Hyman, assistant pastor of Greater Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church and an administrator at CTE Inc., the city’s anti-poverty agency.

State Sen. Alvin Penn, D-Bridgeport, who alleged he was pulled over by a Trumbull police officer three years ago because he is black, introduced legislation enacted last year which bans racial profiling and requires police to record their observations about the race, gender and ethnicity of all motorists they stop.

”The officer (who stopped Penn) had no idea of the can of worms he was opening,” said state Senate Majority Leader George Jepsen, D-Stamford.” `Driving while black’ should not be a crime.”

Stamford’s policy deems racial profiling ”unethical and improper” and a violation of civil rights.

”The Stamford Police Department rejects this practice and we reject any police work that is based on assumptions about race or ethnicity,” the policy reads.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called the policy historic and a ”model for communities across the country.”

”For anyone involved in law enforcement, today is historic,” said Blumenthal. ”Stamford is making a statement a powerful statement.”

Source – Boston Globe (www.boston.com)

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