ACLU Urges House Judiciary Committee to Consider the End Racial Profiling Act

November 4, 2011 11:27 am

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WASHINGTON – Racial profiling is something many Americans deal with on a regular basis that Congress should end by passing the End Racial Profiling Act. The House Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony today as a first step in that process.

“Before there was even a name for it, racial profiling has been engrained in our country’s law enforcement practices,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “But racial profiling not only goes against our Constitution and our country’s value for equality – it also hinders law enforcement officials from doing their job.”

The legislation, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Oct. 6, is also expected to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives following the House Judiciary Committee today. ERPA would prevent law enforcement from subjecting a person to heightened scrutiny based on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin, except when there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin or religion to an identified criminal incident or scheme.

In addition to defining and explicitly prohibiting racial profiling, ERPA will mandate racial profiling training and data collection, authorize the grants for the development and implementation of best policing practices and require periodic reports from the attorney general on any continuing discriminatory practices.

It a statement to the committee, the ACLU asked Congress to pass ERPA. The statement provided examples of racial profiling in a variety of contexts, including historic racism against African-Americans in community and drug enforcement, the post-9/11 intelligence gathering and racial mapping particularly of Arab Muslims and South Asians and the profiling of Latinos, Asians and other people of color in the context of immigration and border enforcement.

The ACLU Washington Legislative Office recently held a policy discussion to draw attention to problem of racial profiling, To view the discussion, which included Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), visit…

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