About 25 Missouri Highway Patrol troopers will be policing the interstate highways in St. Louis as part of Gov. Eric Greitens’ initiatives to combat crime in the city. Civil rights groups worry about racial profiling by the troopers, a persistent problem in the state.
In an unusual move, the city’s Police Commission dedicated its entire weekly meeting to the issue of officer bias against minorities. No bias complaint has ever been upheld by the LAPD, but residents and community activists, both black and Latino, shared stories of moments they felt profiled by police. “They fear the police,” said one activist.
Tuesday’s session is designed as a “robust discussion” of allegations of biased policing, what incoming officers learn about bias during their time in the academy and how supervisors are trained to guard against it. The LAPD has prepared a 143-page report for the meeting.
The Massachusett Supreme Judicial Court tossed out a Boston man’s gun conviction and ordered judges to consider whether a black person who walks away from a police officer is attempting to avoid the “recurring indignity of being racially profiled.” The Boston NAACP applauded the decision. That city’s police commissioner said he is “troubled” by the ruling.
Amid national uproar over a Texas state trooper’s treatment of Sandra Bland during a traffic stop last year, an Austin American-Statesman investigation found that African-American and Hispanic motorists were searched more often when stopped, and contraband was found less often for Hispanic drivers than white drivers.
Since 1994, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has investigated and reached settlements with more than 20 state and local police agencies. Much controversy surrounds these so-called “consent decrees,” which have mandated reforms of police practices in agencies ranging from the municipal forces of Los Angeles, New Orleans and Albuquerque, to state agencies like the New Jersey State Police. Investigations of Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD are currently underway. Do these consent decrees actually reduce officer use-of-force and racial profiling? Have […]
Hillary Clinton will unveil plans today aimed at ending racial profiling and reducing sentences for those caught using crack cocaine, the Boston Globe reports. The two proposals are designed to appeal to African-American voters who are disproportionately affected by both policies. The group is a key demographic for Clinton, particularly in the primary contests immediately following Iowa and New Hampshire. They are part of a broader set of changes to the criminal justice system that Clinton plans to roll out […]
President Obama called aspects of the death penalty “deeply troubling” in an interview with The Marshall Project. Obama also said he planned to speed up pardons and commutations and recalled moments when he suspected he had been racially profiled by police. Asked if he is against capital punishment, Obama said he was struggling to resolve his own conflict. He said racial bias, wrongful imprisonment and botched executions had unsettled his belief that the death penalty is appropriate for some heinous […]
Last month, I spoke at a panel on Urban Policing at St. Francis College in New York about the historical underpinnings of the animus of Back and Brown people toward police. I drew the linear connection between the Harlem Riots of 1943; Watts 1965; Los Angeles, 1992; Ferguson 2014; and Baltimore 2015. I mentioned that although I work to reduce community gun violence and police violence—and often consult with elected officials about how to engage the community in various endeavors—I […]