Senate Democrats have introduced a bill they say will end racial profiling by law enforcement agencies across the country.
The End Racial Profiling Act was introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
It would “ban racial profiling, defined as the practice of a law enforcement agent or agency relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin in selecting which individuals to subject to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities, or in deciding upon the scope and substance of law enforcement activity following the initial investigatory procedure, except when there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and time frame, that links persons of a particular race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin to an identified criminal incident or scheme.”
The legislation “would require federal law enforcement agencies to cease practices that permit racial profiling and to maintain adequate policies and procedures to eliminate racial profiling,” including extra training, data collection, and procedures to respond “meaningfully” to racial profiling complaints.
Departments would have to comply as a condition to receive funding.
“If any provision of this Act is held unconstitutional, the remainder of the Act shall not be affected,” the bill adds.
“The more resources spent investigating individuals because of their race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity, the fewer resources directed at suspects who are actually demonstrating illegal behavior,” Cardin said.
“Racial profiling undermines the rule of law and strikes at the core of our nation’s commitment to equal protection for all,” Durbin said.
The bill’s supporters include the NAACP and the ACLU.