7 Racial Profiling and Law Enforcement Agencies
Racial Profiling and Law Enforcement Agencies
Racial profiling occurs when law enforcement officials stop and detain individuals who are perceived to have a greater likelihood of being involved in certain kinds of criminal activity. The practice may be defined as targeting members of specific racial and/or ethnic groups based on a belief that members of such groups are predisposed to committing certain types of crimes. This belief is often based on crude and generalized preconceptions on the part of law enforcement officials and even members of the greater community. From this perspective, law enforcement racial profiling becomes systemic and acquiesces to the broader societal ethos regarding race and criminal activity.
Racial profiling exists in law enforcement communities across America. According to a 1999 Gallup survey, 59% of adults polled agreed that “some police officers stop motorists of certain racial or ethnic groups because the officers believe that these groups are more likely than others to commit certain types of crimes.” Seventy–seven percent of blacks agreed with the statement, compared to 56% of whites; however, 80% of both groups disapproved of the practice (Newport, 1999). In addition, “racial profiling happens to both women and men, affects all age groups, is used against people from all socio–economic backgrounds, and occurs in rural, suburban, and urban areas” (Amnesty International, 2004). Thus, to what extent does law enforcement racial profiling remain prevalent in American law enforcement agencies? Subsequently, what are the...
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