NO racial profiling? Yeah right!

July 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Posted in civil liberties, government, U.S. Constitution | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

My state, Arizona, has been the talk of the nation because of the new immigration law, sb1070.  The law is being championed by some, while others challenge its constitutionality.  I happened to catch the local news, last night, and saw bits of the training video and training manual instructing law enforcement officers on the proper implementation of the new law.

Based on the parts I saw, more than a few points stand out as problematic.  I want to address two.  The first thing that bugged me was part of the video showing a racially ambiguous brown skinned male stating there would be no racial profiling used in the implementation of this law, and the law states that racial profiling is illegal.  Really?  So before sb1070 it was OK?  I was under the impression that racial profiling isn’t legal and hasn’t been legal anywhere in the U.S. for quite some time; yet blacks and Hispanics are more likely, than Caucasians, to be pulled over by the police.  If you are black, have black friends, or have listened to a black comedian you may have heard someone refer to having received a DWB, a play on DWI (or DUI) meaning driving while black.  They are more likely to be arrested, convicted of, and to receive stiffer sentences for the same offenses committed by whites.  Is there any reason to believe this will not also be the case in enforcement of sb1070?

The other point that gave me pause (and this goes to racial profiling as well) was the part of the video explaining that the law would be implemented during the course of other issues, such as traffic stops etc, when the officer has reason to believe the party or parties involved maybe in the country without proper documentation.  That’s pretty subjective isn’t it?  I wonder how many times an officer will believe someone is undocumented based on  skin color, accented speech, or clothing.  The examples, of why one might suspect legal status, given in the video, were about as lame as it can get: a man explaining that during a traffic stop you (the officer) ask the driver where he/she lives and the driver says he/she doesn’t know… they might be an illegal alien, or if there are other people in the vehicle and when asked who they are the driver claims not to know…they might be an illegal alien (this is beginning to sound like a Jeff Foxworthy bit).  I’ve seen a lot of stupid people but would anyone really be dumb enough to answer, “I don’t know” when asked where they live or the identities of their passengers?  If I were in a country illegally I imagine my lie/s would be well rehearsed and I would likely be carrying false documents.  Actually now that I think about it, there might very well be those dumb enough to give that answer, and I’ll bet a high proportion of them are U.S. citizens (yes, I will admit to having seen an episode or two of Cops).

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