For the past three years, the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association has been in a legal saga concerning Local Law 71, which prohibited the police from bias-based profiling. The concern was that Local Law 71 would open police to an avalanche of unreasonable lawsuits, especially concerning stop-and-frisk practices. In the summer of 2014, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice, Anil Singh rejected the claims. He said the law would not prevent stop-and-frisk practices. The Patrolman’s Benevolent Associations attorneys appealed the case, but the Appellate Division, First Department upheld the ruling.
What is racial profiling? Racial profiling is targeting people based on how they look rather than their actions or behaviors. An officer who is practicing this discriminatory behavior may target someone based on their race, religion, or nationality. This practice comes into play when an officer is choosing which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations. Racial profiling has also been used when determining which pedestrians should be searched for illegal contraband. African-Americans have long been victims of racial profiling. For example, situations where a black person is stopped simply because the police did not think they “belonged” in an area. Again, the stop has no basis in the actions or behavior of the citizen. They are simply of a particular race, and the police suspect them based on their race.
After the attacks on September 11, 2001, people of Middle-Eastern descent became profiled more than ever before. However, these groups are not the only ones targeted. Other nationalities such as people from India, and Europe also feel the effects of racism. Racial profiling is not an issue that only involves the patrolman and the victim. Other members of the law enforcement community are equally guilty is they:
● Fail to respond to the call for help
● Allow a person to be turned over to a group of people intent on doing them harm
● Ignore the law and fail to protect the victim and their family against an obvious threat
Not just a ticket
While a few “lucky” people get away with a ticket, many victims do not. They are emotionally and physically terrorized. The police make them feel helpless and afraid. Often, they are injured or hurt. Sometimes, racial profiling can even lead to death.
Do you think it doesn’t happen?
There are always those who say that the claims of racial profiling are just media hype and it does not happen often. However, black off-duty police officers and detectives have admitted that they have been racially profiled by their fellow officers. Even after identification was shown, some officers took the matter to unreasonable levels.
What can you do?
If you are the victim of racial profiling, you NEED an experienced and qualified attorney to fight for your rights and put an end to this unfair and illegal practice. Furthermore, you should take the following steps to assist your lawyer in proving your case.
● Document everything
○ Date and time
○ Badge number and name of officers
○ Any witness information
○ Specific reasons why you felt you were being profiled
○ Keep everything – tickets, citations, audio, video and photographs if they exist.
Do not attempt to fight this alone. It could be a difficult case to fight and win. However, your attorney can lead the charge to restore you and to protect others from falling victim to the same practice or police officer.