NM Report Shows Substantial Noncompliance with 2009 Anti-Racial Profiling Law

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Somos Un Pueblo Unido and the New Mexico State Conference NAACP this month released a startling report showing that only 6 percent of law enforcement agencies in New Mexico are in compliance with a state law that prohibits racial profiling.

The independent study, Biased-Based Policing at a Glance: An Evaluation of Compliance with the "Prohibition of Profiling Practices Act of 2009," was funded by the Berkeley Law Center for Human Rights. It evaluates whether the policies of municipal, county, and state agencies meet the basic requirements of the Act. 

The Prohibition of Profiling Practices Act prohibits racial profiling and other forms of biased policing on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, physical or mental disability or serious medical condition.  Under this law, which Somos Unidos worked on, all law enforcement agencies are required to have an updated written policy on biased-based policing, which includes all of the protected classes. The law requires law enforcement agencies to “publish” their policy and citizen complaint forms and make them available to the general public while outlining the process through which complaints can be filed and investigated in a timely fashion.

Somos Unidos filed a number of complaints of racial profiling this month and met with the state attorney general about problems with biased policing that are detailed in the report.

Marcela Diaz, executive director of the organization told Colorlines.com about the problems state residents encounter in trying to file complaints of racial profiling “Often when incidents take place we have tried to have our community members file complaints and when they end up talking to law enforcement, there are no complaint forms,” Diaz told Colorlines. "Setting up and having a process to make public complaints was part of the 2009 law. “Often it turns out that there aren’t even clear procedures in place to make a formal complaint.”