Rights Working Group welcomes the introduction of the “End Racial Profiling Act of 2010,” HR 5748 (ERPA). Racial and religious profiling affects people in every area of their life – in their cars, on sidewalks and highways, in the airport, at work, at places of worship, in their homes and at the border. Racial profiling is a long discredited law enforcement technique that has proven to be ineffective. It alienates targeted communities, making them less likely to report crimes when victimized or to cooperate with the police when they witness crimes. It also distracts law enforcement from focusing on actual evidence or criminal behavior and allows them to identify suspects based only on appearance. ERPA would impose an absolute ban on the use of profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion and national origin by federal, state and local law enforcement agents.
“Racial profiling is ineffective, unconstitutional, and violates our human rights,” said Margaret Huang, Executive Director of the Rights Working Group. “This important bill would give the government and affected individuals the tools to stop this insidious practice.”
The bill would:
• Prohibit the use of profiling based on race, religion, ethnicity or national origin;
• Institute policies and programs to eliminate racial profiling in local, state and federal law enforcement including a general prohibition on the practice; training for law enforcement agents; and data collection and monitoring;
• Create a private right of action for victims of profiling;
• Allow the Attorney General to provide grants to law enforcement agencies to encourage the development and implementation of best policing practices; and
• Mandate that the Attorney General submit periodic reports to Congress on any ongoing discriminatory policing practices by federal, state and local law enforcement.
“Although an increasing number of states and counties have adopted laws and policies to combat racial profiling, a comprehensive federal approach to this pervasive problem is needed,” said Huang. “ERPA provides a framework to ensure that profiling of any person anywhere in the United States will be prohibited.”