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Clinton Sets Racial Profiling, Crack Cocaine Plans In Justice Campaign

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 […]

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Obama Questions His Own Support For The Death Penalty

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 […]

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Marlon Peterson

'Driving While Black:' Anatomy of a Police Stop

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 […]

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Homeland Security Email Suggests Racial Profiling By LA Police Agency

An internal email from a Department of Homeland Security lawyer is raising questions about the use of ethnic profiling by local police against immigrants, despite an Obama administration effort to stop using the justice system to round up low-level suspects for deportation, reports the Los Angeles Times. Two Honduran men waiting for a ride to their construction job were detained by Louisiana police in May on loitering charges because they looked Latino, said a Sept. 21 Homeland Security email that […]

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Will Police Accountability Change Behavior?

Three months after passing some of the nation's most progressive bills on police accountability and sentencing reform, the state of Connecticut is still mired in debate over how much further to go in reforming its criminal justice system. The challenges emerged graphically yesterday at a panel discussion involving the state's top justice advisor, and representatives of law enforcement and the state legislature. “If people in the community don't trust the police, everything gets worse,” said Michael Lawlor, Connecticut's Under Secretary […]

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Police Call New CA Racial Profiling Law “Terrible,” Cite Paperwork

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation this weekend mandating that law enforcement agencies in the state collect and make public data on the racial makeup of all those encountered by police, The Los Angeles Times says that for civil rights activists, the measure is a big step toward protecting minorities from racial profiling. For many in law enforcement, it creates a massive new bureaucratic headache that will do little to illuminate the question of whether police treat minority groups […]

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Some Connecticut Police Agencies Practice Racial Profiling, Report Suggests

Black and Hispanic motorists in Connecticut are pulled over by police at higher rates than white motorists and are more likely to be ticketed, says a new release of traffic-stop data reported by the Hartford Courant. Blacks and Hispanics are also more likely to have their cars searched, although police find contraband less often than when the cars of white motorists are searched. The release of data on nearly 250,000 traffic stops between October 2014 and March 2015 adds to […]

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The Troubling Link Between Ferguson and Charleston

Since August 2014, when an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown was shot dead by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, the use of force by police—particularly against minorities—has become the focus of national attention. Similar incidents in places ranging from Cleveland, Ohio to New York City—and last month's church shootings in Charleston SC—have reinforced a national movement, #blacklivesmatter, as well as a spurred a debate that has drawn in every sector of American life. But Ferguson continues to […]

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Arpaio Admits Violating Judge’s Order On Immigrants, Would Pay Fine

Joe Arpaio, the outspoken Arizona sheriff who often touted his get-tough approach to combating illegally immigration, admitted he violated a federal judge's orders to stop detaining people simply because of a suspicion they may be in the country illegally, reports the Los Angeles Times. The admission, one month before he lawman was scheduled to appear in court, appears to be an attempt to avoid an evidentiary hearing in which Arpaio and other officers could be called to testify. Attorneys for […]

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San Diego Official Seeks Outside Study Of Police Racial Profiling Charges

The San Diego Police Department is trying to assess whether its officers are guilty of racial profiling in traffic stops, as some community activists allege, the Los Angeles Times reports. New statistics suggest that black and Latino drivers are more likely to be pulled over than white drivers, and once stopped are more likely to be searched than white drivers who have been stopped. “We have a racial profiling issue; it is here,” said Mark Jones, a former Marine and […]