It bans actions based on discriminatory profiling.
Washington DC (KM). Saying it runs counter to our core values, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin (D) has joined more than two-dozen lawmakers in co-sponsoring a bill that would ban racial, religious and discriminatory profiling by police officers. He says when police use profiling, it’s a waste of resources, and turns communities against law enforcement. “It’s also about the values of America. We don’t discriminate against people of religious or racial or ethic background. So it’s important that those principles be upheld,” he said.
The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (ERRPA) would also require all federal law enforcement officers receive training on racial and religious profiling, and the receipt of any federal law enforcement and other funds to state and local governments be conditioned on the adoption of polices that prohibit profiling. Also, the US Department of Justice provide grants for the development of best policing practices, and the Attorney General present periodic updates on profiling throughout the country.
Cardin says this legislation, if it passes, would not prevent police officers from performing their duties, such as traffic stops, if their training and experience tells them something is not right. “It does not interfere with the normal judgment of a police officer,” he says. “You have specific information about a particular criminal activity. You use that information to follow all reasonable leads.”
Following complaints about racial profiling, Cardin notes that the Maryland State Police entered a consent agreement to help reduce these incidents. He says this bill is very similar to that.
The legislation has the support of the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, South Asian American Leading Together, and 150 national, state and local civil and legal rights organizations, according to a release from Cardin’s office.
He says 26 co-sponsors have been gathered. “We don’t have Republican co-sponsors, although we do have Republicans who I’m working with who want to do something in this area. They’re looking at our bill. And they have pledged to work with me to getting legislation moving,” he says.
In addition to Cardin, other US Senators supporting this bill are Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) and Tim Kaine (D-Va).
By Kevin McManus