By Keith Rushing
The Wisconsin legislature decided to go backwards in time this week by repealing a law that required the police to record the race, age, gender and zip code of anyone they stop.
Evidence of racial profiling and Department of Justice reports led the previous legislature to require this reporting requirement in an effort to examine the extent of racial profiling in the state. The law went into effect in January.
However, the new Republican-dominated legislature was comfortable accepting arguments from law enforcement that the anti-racial profiling law made their jobs unnecessarily tedious and depleted limited resources that are better spent solving crimes.
Only someone who doesn’t think profiling matters, and doesn’t want police to face extra scrutiny would accept such an argument. Seriously, how long does it take for an officer to check a few boxes?
Ironically, some backers of the repeal, like the Herald Times Reporter’s editorial board, say the change in the law shouldn’t be “interpreted by police as a signal to continue the practice of racial profiling.”
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what this law seems to do.