A civil-rights panel will urge Arizona police agencies to take more steps to combat racial profiling after community leaders raised concerns last night that the discriminatory police practice is growing, says the Arizona Republic. Recommendations could include better police training, mandatory data collection by police agencies to help detect patterns of racial profiling, and the creation of an independent citizen commission to investigate racial-profiling complaints. “Racial profiling is obviously a problem,” said Jason Zapata Martinez, chairman of the Arizona Civil Rights Advisory Board at a forum attended by 50 people.
Concern about an increase in racial profiling is prompted partly because police under public pressure have become more involved in enforcing federal immigration laws. Much of the forum focused on a recent statewide study that found that African-American and Latino motorists were more than twice as likely to be searched by state police officers during traffic stops, even though they are less likely to be found carrying contraband than whites.