Senator Gloria Butler, Representative Pedro Marin, Representative Tyrone Brooks Introduce Anti-Racial Profiling Legislation in 2010 Session

Affiliate: ACLU of Georgia
January 22, 2010 12:00 am

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ACLU of Georgia
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Press conference will be Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 1 p.m., outside of the Georgia State Capitol

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

Atlanta – The ACLU of Georgia and ABLE will host a press conference with Senator Gloria Butler, Representative Pedro Marin, and Representative Tyrone Brooks on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm outside the Georgia State Capitol. Senator Butler, Representative Brooks, and Representative Marin will announce the introduction of anti-racial profiling legislation in both the Georgia Senate and House.

The introduction of the legislation this year follows a series of three racial profiling forums organized by ABLE and the ACLU of Georgia in the past months. The large and diverse community attendance and testimonies from people who have been racially profiled make clear the continuing problem and need for the anti-racial profiling legislation in Georgia.

“Racial profiling is at odds with our shared American values of fairness, justice and equality under the law,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, the ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director. “Using race, ethnicity, or national origin as a proxy for criminal suspicion violates the constitutional requirement that police and other government officials accord to all citizens the equal protection of the law,” said Shahshahani. “Georgia should join the ranks of other states including several in the southeast that are collecting stop and search data. The collection of this data and its availability to the public serves an important oversight purpose.”

Racial profiling occurs when police target people for interrogations, searches, and detention based not on evidence of criminal activity but on individuals’ perceived or actual race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. The bill being introduced will prohibit racial profiling by State police, county or municipal police departments, or any other enforcement agency. It will require annual training for law enforcement regarding racial profiling, and will require law enforcement officers to track race, ethnicity, gender, and age of every person subject to a routine traffic stop. The bill will also require the attorney general to publish the reports to the public annually and establish procedures to investigate complaints.

“The status quo had become intolerable for Georgians and it is time for our legislators on both sides of the aisle to make a bold decision to right the wrong. Communities and individuals are changing their travel routes and altering their normal routines for fear of being pulled over by law enforcement because of their appearance. Skin color is not a crime, and the routine practice of treating it as such has to end in 2010,” said ABLE’s Rev. Tracy Blagec.

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