White Separatist Defends Racial Profiling at Police Meeting

Affiliate: ACLU of Colorado
August 20, 1999 12:00 am

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DENVER — When police officials from around the country gathered here on Aug. 14 for a debate on racial profiling, many were surprised to hear that one side would be argued by someone with a white separatist background, The New York Times reports.

The speaker, Jared Taylor, told the annual meeting of the National Association of Police Organizations that law-enforcement officers were justified in using racial profiling during police traffic stops. Taylor, who has called diversity “unnatural” and said on his Web site that whites face “the prospect of oblivion,” said that profiling was “common sense” because blacks commit violent crimes more than whites.

That view and Taylor’s background were assailed by debate opponent John M. Crew, an attorney and Director of the Police Practices Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Robert T. Scully, executive director of NAPO, told the Times that his organization did not endorse Taylor’s views and that they had been unaware of his background when issuing the invitation to debate the ACLU.

But Crew disputed that assertion in a letter sent to Scully today, saying that his denial only compounded the “grave mistake” of inviting Taylor.

Weeks before the event, he said, “I pleaded with your staff to invite someone who could speak with some knowledge” of the racial profiling issue. “I had hoped to avoid having to waste valuable time before your delegates rebutting racist rhetoric that was irrelevant to the issue in the first place.”

When Crew asked to debate Scully instead of Taylor, he said, he was told that the group did not want someone from law-enforcement in the debate and that they could not find someone from outside of law enforcement who disagreed with the ACLU on the subject.

In the Times article, Taylor acknowledged his writings and confirmed that he is a board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that columnist William Raspberry recently described as “hardly distinguishable from the posturing of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Racial profiling, or the targeting of suspects based on skin color, has become a highly charged issue in the last few years, after a rising number of complaints that black motorists were being pulled over by the police in record numbers, the Times said.

In June, President Clinton ordered Federal law enforcement agencies to compile data on the race and ethnicity of people they question, search or arrest to determine if certain minorities were being singled out.

The National Association of Police Organizations, a nonprofit group that represents 4,000 law-enforcement unions and associations, has argued against Clinton’s directive, saying that the vast majority of officers use probable cause as the basis for stopping motorists.

To date, the ACLU has filed lawsuits challenging the police practice of racial profiling in eight states. The statistical evidence collected in the course of this litigation shows a clear pattern of racially discriminatory traffic stops and searches.

A recent ACLU report, Driving While Black: Racial Profiling On Our Nation’s Highways, documents this practice of substituting skin color for evidence as a grounds for suspicion by law enforcement officials. It can be found online at /profiling/report/index.html.

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