Racial Profiling and Police Misconduct
There are situations where police officers suspect that someone has committed a crime based solely on the color of their skin. If the officials stop and perform a search on this person, then we are in the presence of racial profiling.
As stated in aclu.org, the term racial profiling “refers to the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Criminal profiling, generally, as practiced by police, is the reliance on a group of characteristics they believe to be associated with crime”.
There are actions of police misconduct where racial profiling may arise, such as traffic stops, car searches, pedestrian stops, and body frisks. Some examples of racial profiling related actions are the following:
- The police stop a vehicle due to the ethnicity of the person behind the wheel.
- A law enforcement official restrains a vehicle’s conductor based only on the belief that the individual doesn’t belong in a particular part of town.
- An officer detains the driver of a car because the agent thinks it’s not likely that an individual of their race is the owner of a particular model of vehicle.
How the Law Protects you from Racial Profiling
Racial violations go against your constitutional and civil rights. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Additionally, the Fourteenth Amendment establishes the guarantee of equal protection before the law.
The prohibition of racial profiling in California is expressed in its Penal Code on Section 13519.4, which states that “A peace officer shall not engage in racial or identity profiling”. It also recognizes that this act of police misconduct “is a practice that presents a great danger to the fundamental principles of our Constitution and a democratic society. It is abhorrent and cannot be tolerated”.
There is a scenario where the police are legally authorized to make a stop using race as a factor. This situation occurs when they are looking for a suspect with specific features and this characteristic is part of the description.
If you believe your civil rights have been violated by racial profiling practices, you may file a claim against the wrongdoers and receive monetary damages, or obtain another remedy, like injunctive relief, which has the intention to prevent the illegal action.
In case of racial profiling or any other action police misconduct, it is important to find a legal advisor that guides you during the legal process you need to go through to assert your civil rights, find justice, and obtain a positive outcome.
More on Police Misconduct:
- About the Law Enforcement Misconduct Statute
- Agreeing with a search warrant
- Common types of Police Misconduct
- Deliberate Indifference
- Filing a police misconduct complaint
- How do I report Police Misconduct?
- Physical Assault
- The OJP Program Statute
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- Police Misconduct in the US
- Laws Enforced by the Department of Justice
- Police Misconduct Provision
- What information should I include in a Complaint to DOJ
- Police Misconduct: A Violation of Your Rights
- See an Attorney about Police Misconduct
- Understanding Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Violations
- What is Police Harassment?
- What counts as Police Misconduct?
- Advice from a Police Misconduct Attorney
- Your Legal Options after Suffering a Wrongful Arrest
- How to Legally Act Against Police Brutality and Misconduct
- How to Tell If You Are the Victim of a Wrongful Arrest
- How to Pick a Civil Rights Lawyer for Police Misconduct Cases
- Defenses You May Use as a Police Officer Against Alleged Police Misconduct
- What to Do When You Sustain Injuries Due to Police Misconduct
Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California. Call or email us for a free consultation.