Law Enforcement, Rights Groups Urge Gov. Bush To Match Racial Justice Rhetoric With Action

January 19, 2000 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON -- Responding to George W. Bush's vague answers on racial profiling at a recent debate, law enforcement and civil rights groups today sent a letter asking the Texas governor to take concrete steps to address the problem of racial profiling in his state.

"It is not enough for elected officials merely to proclaim that they are opposed to racism. Governor Bush must use the power of his office to begin to eliminate the problem of racial profiling in Texas," said John Crew, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Campaign Against Racial Profiling.

The letter urging Bush to take action on racial profiling in his state was signed by the ACLU, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, the National Black Police Association, the National Council of La Raza, the National Latino Peace Officer's Association and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

The groups sent the letter after reviewing what they termed the "vague and noncommittal" nature of Bush's response to questions about racial profiling in a January 10th debate among Republican presidential candidates in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

"As many law enforcement organizations and public officials have come to recognize, it is not enough just to be 'against' racism and racial profiling. Concrete steps must be taken to identify where discriminatory practices exist and to root them out. No branch of government can be blind or passive with respect to discriminatory police practices," the groups said in their letter.

The letter urged Bush to direct the Texas Department of Public Safety to collect and report data on the race or ethnicity of motorists they stop and search, and noted that his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, has been publicly supportive of a similar data collection program being conducted by his state's highway patrol.

"If state police agencies under both Democratic and Republican governors are now addressing concerns about racial profiling in this concrete manner, we believe the Texas Department of Public Safety can and should do so as well," the groups said.

The full text of the letter can be found at:

Further information on the ACLU's Campaign Against Racial Profiling, can be found at:

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