Rhode Island Judge Orders Providence Police to Comply with State Racial Profiling Law

December 4, 2001 12:00 am

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.–In response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, a state court today issued a detailed order designed to ensure that the Providence Police Department begins complying with a law that requires them to collect data on the traffic stops they conduct in order to determine if racial profiling may be occurring.

“”The actions of the Providence police in failing to comply with the law show a real insensitivity to the whole issue of racial profiling,”” said Carolyn Mannis, who filed the lawsuit as an ACLU volunteer attorney. “”I am pleased we have been able to obtain a comprehensive court order to put this important data collection study back on track.””

Today’s court order is based on an on-site study by experts from Northeastern University’s Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research, which concluded that “”there has been substantial noncompliance with the Act [by the PPD] since its initial implementation [in January, 2001].” The order incorporates the experts’ recommendations for compliance.

Among other things, the order requires retraining of all departmental supervisors on the requirements of the statute, the implementation of a detailed “data handling protocol,” biweekly submission to the experts of all the police department’s various traffic stop records, and twice-a-month detailed random audits of police records and police car videotapes with the traffic stop forms to ensure the forms are being filled out completely and accurately. The order further requires Providence to pay for the costs of this oversight.

For more information on the ACLU’s work on racial profiling, go to http://archive.aclu.org/profiling/.

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