Attorney General Says Ending Racial Profiling Is Priority For Obama Administration

May 7, 2009
Holder’s Statement Marks Clean Break With Bush Administration
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org  
 
WASHINGTON – During a hearing before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that ending the practice of racial profiling is a “priority” for the Obama administration. In response to a question from Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Holder described the use of race, ethnicity or national origin by law enforcement officers in making routine or spontaneous decisions as “simply not good law enforcement.”
 
In October, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern over controversial changes made to FBI internal guidelines governing investigations that allow agents to use intrusive measures without evidence of wrongdoing. These changes, which went into effect in December, opened the door to racial profiling. In fact, FBI agents are now able to use these same intrusive techniques to investigate potential participants in public demonstrations.
 
The following can be attributed to Mike German, ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI agent:
 
“Attorney General Holder’s statement set a new tone that racial profiling is unacceptable in all situations. The Bush administration had lowered the bar by allowing the use of race and religion as factors in national security and border integrity investigations. Holder sent a clear signal today that the FBI guidelines for investigations need to be redrafted. It makes no sense to use an ineffective law enforcement tool in our most important investigations.”
 
The following can be attributed to Jennifer Bellamy, ACLU Legislative Counsel:
 
“Attorney General Holder’s remarks on racial profiling should shut the door on the Bush administration’s use of race and ethnicity in the name of homeland security. Now it is time for Congress to follow the example of the top law enforcement officer and pass the End Racial Profiling Act.”
 
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