Racial Profiling: Maryland Steps Forward

Roughly eight months ago the Justice Department announced new curbs on racial profiling. This is a difficult issue, as illustrated by what the Justice Department said when it issued its guidelines.

Race or the other characteristics can still be taken into account, according to the Justice Department policy, if a federal law enforcement officer has “trustworthy information, relevant to the locality or time frame, linking persons possessing that characteristic to a threat to national security, homeland security or intelligence activity.

Maryland became the first state to follow suit, with guidelines aimed at severely restricting law enforcement officers from singling out suspects based on traits including race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh of Maryland issued the rules in a nine-page memorandum in which he condemned profiling of racial minorities by the police, calling it a “deeply unfair” practice.

“Racial profiling continues despite the fact that it is against the law of the United States; it’s against Maryland law,” Mr. Frosh said in a telephone interview shortly after announcing the guidelines at a news conference in the state capital, Annapolis. “We need people to understand that racial profiling is illegal, and it’s bad police work.”

 

View full story in The New York Times here.

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