Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Black Law Students => Topic started by: YoungIke on July 25, 2005, 06:56:20 AM

Title: Racial Profiling
Post by: YoungIke on July 25, 2005, 06:56:20 AM
In light of recent events, there has been a lot of racial profiling directed toward the Middle Eastern Community. As African Americans we are all too familiar with profiling and should be able to sympathize. What are your views on the recent switch of ethnic groups in profiling after terrorist activities and do you guys think profiling is ever justified. Please touch on the Patriot Act and inner-city violence in your analysis of the institution of racial profiling.

The article that sparked this thread

 Man Shot Dead by British Police Was Innocent Brazilian Citizen
Bystander Mistaken for Suspect in Failed Bomb Attacks

By Glenn Frankel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, July 24, 2005; Page A24

LONDON, July 23 -- The man shot dead by police in front of terrified passengers inside a subway car Friday was an innocent Brazilian bystander mistaken for a suspect in the abortive bomb attacks the day before, police officials acknowledged Saturday.

The officials said the man emerged from the same South London apartment complex as a prime suspect in the failed bombings of three subway trains and a double-decker bus, and was followed by armed plainclothes officers to a nearby subway station.

 

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was an electrician. (Str - Reuters) 
They gave chase fearing the man was preparing to attack a train, police officials said. The officers pushed him to the floor of the car and shot him five times in the head at close range, according to witnesses, who gave searing accounts broadcast on television and radio. Under guidelines adopted in recent years, officers are advised to shoot suspected suicide bombers in the head to prevent them from setting off explosives.

Police identified the man as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, a Brazilian citizen.

The mistaken shooting set off a new wave of alarm and criticism from leaders of Britain's minority Muslim community, who expressed concern that police are singling out men with certain physical characteristics or ethnic backgrounds in their pursuit of the would-be bombers, believed to be Muslims of South Asian or North African origin.

"We accept that police are under tremendous pressure to apprehend the criminals attempting to cause carnage, but we believe this incident makes it vital that the authorities explain and follow the rules of engagement to ensure innocent people are not caught up and killed due to overzealous policing," said Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain.

A police statement expressed regrets for the killing and added: "For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy." Officials said the incident would receive a full investigation but declined to comment further.

In Brazil, the Foreign Ministry said it was "shocked and perplexed" by the death of Menezes, whom it did not name but described as "apparently the victim of a lamentable mistake," the Associated Press reported.

The ministry said it expected British authorities to explain the circumstances of the shooting, and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim would try to meet with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw during a visit to London.

Meanwhile, police questioned two men arrested Friday in south London under anti-terrorism laws, while investigators combed this anxious city for the four men suspected of carrying out the failed bomb attacks. The small explosions killed no one but were attempted carbon copies of the July 7 suicide bombings during morning rush hour here that killed at least 56 people -- including the four suspected bombers -- and injured 700.

The two men were held after raids late Friday in the Stockwell area, near the station where Friday's fatal shooting occurred. The site is one stop south of Oval station, which was the site of one of the failed attacks Thursday.

Bunglawala said the police force needed to convince anxious Muslims and other minority groups that it was concerned for their safety. At the same time, he said, Muslims must help the police catch the would-be bombers.

 
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: Burning Sands, Esq. on July 25, 2005, 07:06:04 AM
DAMN.  5 shots to the dome??  Is that even necessary?  The terrorists won.  England is shook up like a pair of dice, which is exactly what they wanted.  They're on edge so much they're ready to pop a cat 5 times in the dome if he looks a certain way.

Profiling can be a necessary evil sometimes.  If you got a cetain type of people doing wrong then yeah, it would behoove local authorities to keep an eye out.  But most cats suffer from that "they all look alike" syndome, so then anybody becomes a suspect.

From what I understand from the bombings in England, the 4 cats who did it were home grown England citizens.  Paid their taxes and the whole 9.  You can't profile a target like that, you'd be profiling everybody & they mama.  I could understand maybe keeping tabs on a cat from out of country, but not your own citizens...that's doing too much.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: Muse on July 25, 2005, 07:25:38 AM
What happened to the Brasilian man was a tragedy, however the Brittish people are on edge right now because of the threat of more terrorist attacks. I really feel for the Muslim community because they are not the terrorist but will end up paying the consequences as a result. Sadly enough the Brittish police will not change their shoot to kill policy if they suspect someone of being a suicide bomber.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: YoungIke on July 25, 2005, 07:27:10 AM
I feel you in profiling being a necessary evil. But when does it go too far. It is clear to see that this incident went too far. The police are actually trained to shoot at the head now, as not to set of any explosives that may be attached to a potential suspect. This sucks now because would be suspects don't have the chance to prove their innocence. The terrorist are truly winning. I do think that this is one of the greatest times to be black. On my travels last summer I realized that we can go anywhere in the world and not be viewed as a threat. Maybe a little disrespected and looked down upon at times but it's mostly love.  
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: Muse on July 25, 2005, 07:32:30 AM
The reason the police came up with the shoot in the head first policy is because if the suicide bomber has explosives, a bullet might set it off.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: YoungIke on July 25, 2005, 07:38:03 AM
To change coarse a bit. Since Arabs and people of Middle Eastern origin are being profiled with sometime understandable reason. Should the profiling in the black community be ok since the inner-city violence among youth is at an all time high?
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: Muse on July 25, 2005, 07:42:06 AM
That's a tough question because often times they end up harassing innocent people. My father and brothers have been the victim of racial profiling because they happen to fit the description of the criminal in question...

Black male between the ages of 18-35 5'8-6'5 160-250lbs...Come on now....
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: dbgirl on July 25, 2005, 10:20:35 AM
As a reporter, I get those descriptions all the time .. "The shooter is described a black man, average height, weight, etc.," I always wonder how much good it does to print that stuff.

And police are still definitely doing some profiling on black people. Yesterday we got a press release that said something like this. "A police officer noticed the black man in the nice car park and walk across the street. The officer ran the plates and noticed the car was stolen and that the suspect was on parole. The officer called another 35 officers to search for the suspect, who did not find him after a four-hour search."
So we called said police department to find out why the department spent so much time/money searching for this suspect -- and no one was able to give us an answer. ???
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: angmill08 on July 25, 2005, 11:53:58 AM
In my old neighborhood, it seemed like the police took the strategy of just stopping anyone for any reason they could, simply to run their license and check for warrants, run the plates and make sure the car wasn't stolen, and most important, shine a flashlight around in the car to look for drug paraphernalia.

Drug dealing was a huge problem there, and it was an inconvenience to be pulled over every time you "rolled" a stop sign (or just didn't stop long enough) or for biking without a tail light after dark, or for having an inspection sticker expired, or for allegedly speeding, driving too slow, weaving, whatever. The cops rarely gave tickets for these offenses if you were deferential and your record was clean and everything else was in order (often a written warning, though.)

It was funny because my neighbor borrowed a car from a mutual friend who lived in a different neighborhood and her inspection was way expired. Our friend had been driving around for months with an expired inspection sticker! This was suprizing to us b.c. in our neighborhood, you would get pulled over within the first week.

It was frustrating some times, especially when I first moved into the neighborhood. But the longer I stayed there, the more I got frustrated with the dealers and the crackheads, whose rampant petty theft was really, really aggravating. I eventually came to resent them much more than the police.

 I'm not sure what else the cops could do, really. Everyone knew who the drug dealers and users were, but the cops had to catch them in the act with something on them to bust them, and they (the dealers) were very sly about how to drop off/pick up stuff. Of course, even when someone got busted, they didn't stay in jail too long and when they got out they got right back to business. So there was a really high level of frustration from neighbors and police and everyone blamed someone else for not fixing the problem.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: faith2005 on July 25, 2005, 12:39:59 PM
this article was so shocking to me. i had no clue that the person had turned out to be an innocent person. but when i heard the report that they had shot a suspect i thought, wouldn't it be sad if he is not involved. so sad. racial profiling is a waste of time and money. its convenient, but like you pointed out angmill, it doesn't really lead to real change. there are alternatives. in the great britain situation, i am not exactly sure of what they are, b/c the train is public and people are not subject to searches like they are on a plane or a bus, but we have to figure out something.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: BigMix on July 25, 2005, 12:50:29 PM
racial profiling shows that a raced based democracy is contradictory in terms.

One can't have a democracy, with a racial heirarchy. Inevitably, the race that occupies the upper strata will always stereotype an entire race or group based on the actions of a few. Simplistic and convenient. i.e all muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: angmill08 on July 25, 2005, 01:32:01 PM
racial profiling is a waste of time and money. its convenient, but like you pointed out angmill, it doesn't really lead to real change. there are alternatives. in the great britain situation, i am not exactly sure of what they are, b/c the train is public and people are not subject to searches like they are on a plane or a bus, but we have to figure out something.

I also wonder what the alternatives are. Anyone have ideas?
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: faith2005 on July 25, 2005, 01:40:30 PM
i heard a prof. speak from northeastern university school of law. she had conducted seminars with police officers about different ways to get rid of racial profiling. here is some information. i didn't read through all of it, but it quotes the prof. deborah ramirez in the articles about racial profiling. it pretty much talks about how racial profiling doesn't work b/c even though more contraband is found in black and hispanic cars, its the result of huge increases in the number of people of color who are stopped.

http://www.justicejournalism.org/crimeguide/chapter04/chapter04_pg03.html

http://www.lamberthconsulting.com/about-us/index.asp
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: YoungIke on July 25, 2005, 01:44:46 PM
racial profiling is a waste of time and money. its convenient, but like you pointed out angmill, it doesn't really lead to real change. there are alternatives. in the great britain situation, i am not exactly sure of what they are, b/c the train is public and people are not subject to searches like they are on a plane or a bus, but we have to figure out something.

Either full scale intergration or full scale separation. But that still wouldn't kill the profiling within the race.

I also wonder what the alternatives are. Anyone have ideas?
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: BigMix on July 26, 2005, 08:06:37 AM
[quote author=faith2005 link=topic=38710.msg664589#msg664589 it pretty much talks about how racial profiling doesn't work b/c even though more contraband is found in black and hispanic cars, its the result of huge increases in the number of people of color who are stopped.


Quote
yep. self fulfilling prophecy.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: Muse on July 26, 2005, 10:12:43 AM
On BBC news today, it was verified that the Brasilian man was shot 8 times. Now the question is wasn't that a tad bit excessive? THis type of treatment is only going to encourage these so called "terrorist"

Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: ImVinny! on July 28, 2005, 07:07:33 AM
As a reporter, I get those descriptions all the time .. "The shooter is described a black man, average height, weight, etc.," I always wonder how much good it does to print that stuff.

And police are still definitely doing some profiling on black people. Yesterday we got a press release that said something like this. "A police officer noticed the black man in the nice car park and walk across the street. The officer ran the plates and noticed the car was stolen and that the suspect was on parole. The officer called another 35 officers to search for the suspect, who did not find him after a four-hour search."
So we called said police department to find out why the department spent so much time/money searching for this suspect -- and no one was able to give us an answer. ???

You think there is a problem with the police trying to catch people who steal cars and who are against thier parole? Come onnow.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: j.rosh on July 28, 2005, 07:12:15 AM
As a reporter, I get those descriptions all the time .. "The shooter is described a black man, average height, weight, etc.," I always wonder how much good it does to print that stuff.

And police are still definitely doing some profiling on black people. Yesterday we got a press release that said something like this. "A police officer noticed the black man in the nice car park and walk across the street. The officer ran the plates and noticed the car was stolen and that the suspect was on parole. The officer called another 35 officers to search for the suspect, who did not find him after a four-hour search."
So we called said police department to find out why the department spent so much time/money searching for this suspect -- and no one was able to give us an answer. ???

You think there is a problem with the police trying to catch people who steal cars and who are against thier parole? Come onnow.


Nothing wrong with catching thieves, but did your read the description she gave in her post?
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: I hear America singing on July 28, 2005, 07:25:16 AM
Racial profiling, when used in combination with other factors, makes a whole lot of sense.

If you're a cop and you see a middle-aged white man in Compton on a Thursday night, it's reasonable to assume there's a more than likely chance that he's up to no good.  This doesn't warrant an arrest, but further investigation would be prudent.

The same goes for a Muslim in the middle of Nome, Alaska.  A cop is trained to see things that don't fit- using race as a factor isn't racist, only an admittance of cultural realities.

If white guys with goatees had bombed the Trade Center, I would understand (and expect, to be honest) to be searched more closely at airports.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: Muse on July 28, 2005, 07:58:32 AM
GOod point I hear America, but when is the line drawn? What if a Muslim student wearing a packback gets on the metro to attend classes? Should he be stopped everytime he wants to get on the train?
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: BigMix on July 28, 2005, 08:03:58 AM
When I did an M.A, there was this egyptian cat in my class(This was just after Sept 11th). The guy would feel most comfortable riding on the train with his black classmates  ;D
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: angmill08 on July 28, 2005, 12:41:37 PM
Racial profiling, when used in combination with other factors, makes a whole lot of sense.

If you're a cop and you see a middle-aged white man in Compton on a Thursday night, it's reasonable to assume there's a more than likely chance that he's up to no good.  This doesn't warrant an arrest, but further investigation would be prudent.

But there is a fine line between an "admission of cultural realities" and an "acceptance of cultural stereotypes". White men live in Compton. The perception that the white person in a majority black area is probably "up to no good" rests on the idea that whites don't spend time in majority black neighborhoods for legitamite purposes -- because they have friends there, jobs there, property there, families there, because there's a good restaurant, whatever. The automatic assumption that a white man in Compton on a Thursday night is not getting off work, or picking up his girlfriend, but buying drugs or something else is based on that assumption... which, in my experience, is not a reality at all. So accepting this idea, to me, doesn't feel like an "admission of cultural realities" but a self-fulfilling stereotype that enforces racial segregation.

When I was getting stopped a lot at first in my (majority black) neighborhood, I resented it because it seemed like the cops just couldn't imagine that a white girld would live there, have black friends, etc. One time I got pulled over on Thanksgiving morning, driving back from the grocery with all this food in the car, and the cop seemed to have a hard time believing that I was coming home to cook Thanksgiving dinner. He acted like all the bags were some sneaky ruse. To me, it seemed like it was so obvious that I was legit -- I was giving out all the signals of "legitamite activity" but my race alone made me suspect. This was frustrating.

It is especially frustrating because I've noticed that white people often think there are NO whites in majority black neighborhoods, which is not the case. A couple of white friends/relatives (not from the neighborhood) asked me, "Are you the only white person there?" which was laughable... the neighborhood was probably 10% white... now probably 25%-30%.

Anyway, in my area, the police took some heat for racial profiling and changed their tactics, and now they pull everyone over in high crime areas. They don't ask the questions like, "what are you doing here?", they just pull you over, run your info and kind of check you out.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: ImVinny! on July 28, 2005, 12:45:45 PM
Interesting story. Do you still get pulled over a lot?
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: dbgirl on July 28, 2005, 12:58:13 PM
I have a strawberry blonde green-eyed freckled daughter and I can tell you all sorts of stories about situations our family has gotten into.

When she was little I was Christmas shopping with my daughter and my black grandmother. I gave the kid to my grandmother to watch while I shopped in another aisle. My daughter started screaming for her mommy and these two women told the store clerk about how this poor child was in distress (riding in a shopping car w/grandma). Anyway, I overheard this and I told the women "that's my daughter." I even showed the women her photo. One woman apologized and walked away, the other kept complaining. She just didn't believe my daughter hadn't been kidnapped!

Another time my daughter went out with my grandmother and my brother, who has darker skin than I do. My grandmother parked the car with my sleeping daughter and my brother inside. Some guy called the police to investigate my brother! For no other reason than a fair-haired "white" child was in a car with a swarthy-skinned man.

We also live in a majority minority neighborhood. My daughter has been stopped and bothered by cops several times for being an apparent white person in a minority neighborhood.
I finally complained to our local police department about this -- and the seargent said he would give his rookie cops a talk about profiling.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: angmill08 on July 28, 2005, 01:13:23 PM
You know, I understand profiling for some reasons. I mean, if there's a place where hookers always wait for johns, and you see a woman just hanging out there, yes, investigate! But to label a whole race, residential area or any interracial situation as "suspicious" is very negative.

When people complain about racial profiling, they are thinking of stories like db's, I think. They are not complaining about something like the hypothetical I described above.

Personally, I moved in May (not because of this... because I bought a nicer house)... but I think the police are still using the "stop anyone you can and check them out" strategy. Which I didn't find that aggravating. They were nice about it (to me, at least) and I saw the rationale (crime.) But you know, one thing the neighbors consistently asked the police for was one small crew of officers who would always work our neighborhood. The neighborhood associations for years were asking for a walking cop who would "walk a beat" through the area and get to know everyone, who was good and who was bad. The police department told us this was not feasible because of scheduling and insufficient staffing.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: ImVinny! on July 28, 2005, 01:38:46 PM
Wow, and I didn't like when people thought that I only spoke Spanish, when I don't speak it at all.
My uncle went to court one day to hear a case about his sister and the judge had almost gone through all the cases and asked him why he was there. He wasn't looking that way and then the judge asked him if he needed an interpreter, lol! Many people think he is Puerto Rican just because he has dark skin. He just happens to have some wierd sort of permanent tan though from working outside forever.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: mr*mouth*piece on July 28, 2005, 01:49:57 PM
If white guys with goatees had bombed the Trade Center, I would understand (and expect, to be honest) to be searched more closely at airports.

So were you pulled over, searched more closely or racialy profile after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma, or what about after the bombing in Atlanta,  or what about after all of the bombings at abortion clinics across this country (the perps were all of European descent ala white).  ???
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: faith2005 on July 28, 2005, 02:04:09 PM
no he wasn't. thats why when white guys say that stuff to me i automatically write it off as being delusional. racial profiling is apart of the way that white men in power perceive the "other." to them another white guy is an individual, not apart of a racial group. how can you profile white men? there are so many of them. its like that because they perceive themselves as the default, and everybody else is extraordinary or different and therefore they can be profiled.  >:(
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: dbgirl on July 28, 2005, 02:09:56 PM
My older daughter looks Irish, my younger daughter looks Latina, so we have all sorts of misunderstandings (or whatever you want to call them.)

On the funny side, I took my younger daughter to the doctor and they said "Does she speak English?" She snapped "No! I do NOT speak English!" Of course she was too little to understand this whole exchange.
Title: Re: Racial Profiling
Post by: BigMix on July 28, 2005, 02:31:40 PM
no he wasn't. thats why when white guys say that stuff to me i automatically write it off as being delusional. racial profiling is apart of the way that white men in power perceive the "other." to them another white guy is an individual, not apart of a racial group. how can you profile white men? there are so many of them. its like that because they perceive themselves as the default, and everybody else is extraordinary or different and therefore they can be profiled.  >:(
Now if only Lou Dobbs would say the above on CNN. OOps as Charles Mills would say, "A fish can't see water"