U.S. Justice Department and State of New Jersey Enter Into Consent Decree

Affiliate: ACLU of New Jersey
December 29, 1999 12:00 am


ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of New Jersey
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW JERSEY — Last week, the State of New Jersey and its Division of State Police entered into a far-reaching settlement with the U.S. Justice Department that includes the establishment of an independent monitor to ensure that racial profiling by state troopers cease.

The decree states that “state troopers may not rely to any degree on the race or national or ethnic origin of motorists in selecting vehicles for traffic stops and in deciding upon the scope and substance of post-stop actions, except where state troopers are on the look-out for a specific suspect who has been identified in part by his or her race or national or ethnic origin.” The decree further requires that troopers request consent to search only when they have reasonable suspicion that the search will reveal evidence of a crime.

John Crew, Coordinator of the ACLU’s national Campaign Against Racial Profiling, expressed approval, but sounded the following caution: “While the ACLU is pleased that the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has crafted this decree the prevent racial profiling by this agency, the problem is not unique to New Jersey. In fact, another arm of the Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, has played a major role in the spread of racial profiling by training hundreds of local law enforcement agencies to use minor traffic violations as a pretext to look for drugs on the nation’s highways.” Crew went on to point out that more than six months ago, the ACLU sent a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno calling upon her to implement the reforms now part of the New Jersey decree throughout the country. That has not yet occurred: “Now that her Civil Rights Divison has called these reforms Îmodels’ for other agencies, it’s time for the Attorney General to fully confront the federal government’s role and responsibility for this problem and to act on our proposals,” Crew said.

The New Jersey consent decree can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/documents/jerseysa.htm

The ACLU’s letter to the Attorney General containing recommendations on racial profiling and other police reforms can be found at: http://archive.aclu.org/congress/l060499a.html

More information on ACLU’s “Arrest the Racism” campaign can be found at: http://archive.aclu.org/profiling

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