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Racial Profiling is a Valuable Policing Tool Essay

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Former President Clinton called for a national crackdown on racial profiling and ordered federal law enforcement authorities to begin an investigation. (1) Vice President Al Gore promised the NAACP that should he become president eliminating the practice of racial profiling by the nation's police departments would be a top priority. (2) New Jersey Governor Christy Whitman fired Police Superintendent Carl Williams after the 35-year veteran trooper said in an interview that minorities are more likely to be involved in drug trafficking. (3)

In the case of State of New Jersey v. Pedro Soto, et. al., the attorney for the black defendants moved to suppress evidence from traffic stops deemed to be discriminatory enforcement of the traffic laws. (4) On March 4, 1996, New Jersey Superior Court judge, Robert E. Francis, in granting the motion, held that "unrebutted statistical evidence of disproportionate traffic stops against African-American motorists established de facto policy of targeting blacks for investigation and arrest and thus established selective enforcement violating the equal protection and due process clauses. The motion to suppress evidence, resulted in criminal charges being dismissed against all 19 defendants. (5)

What is racial profiling? Does it serve any purpose? In the most general terms, racial profiling is a process whereby people employ a cheap-to-observe physical characteristic, such as race, sex, height, weight and accent, as a proxy for a more costly-to-observe characteristic. It is prejudice, in the sense of the word's Latin root - the act of pre-judging. Another way to define pre-judging is that it is the practice of making decisions on the basis of incomplete information.

Since the acquisition of i...


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...ficially sanctioned or de facto policy of targeting minorities for investigation and arrest, any evidence seized will be suppressed to deter future insolence in office by those charged with enforcement of the law and to maintain judicial integrity. U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. 14.

6. The age-adjusted incidence of prostate cancer is higher in black males (142.0 per 100,000) compared with white males (108.3 per 100,000).

7. Approximately 80,000 Americans have sickle-cell disease. About 9% of blacks have the trait, and an estimated one in 500 blacks. One in every 1,000 to 1,400 American Hispanic children are born with sickle-cell disease itself. The high incidence of the sickle-cell gene in these and other specific populations is due to its ability to make red blood cells resistant to the malaria parasite.

8. In this group, the incidence is 1 out of 2,500 people.


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