The state of Maryland recently took a huge step in confronting racial profiling and discriminatory stops by police officers.
On August 25, 2015, state attorney general, Brian Frosh, released a statement of new police guidelines that spell out for the first time that police officers may not in any way use discriminatory decisions about the appearance of an individual as guidance when interacting with citizens.
This may seem like something that should have already been on the books – and it should have been – but with this new announcement, Maryland has actually become the first state to expressly articulate this and prohibit police from making discriminatory stops.
The Attorney General’s memo explains, “officers in any law enforcement agency in Maryland may not consider race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity to any degree during routine police operations.”
Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling national problem despite claims that the United States has entered a “post-racial era.” It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Racial profiling is patently illegal, violating the U.S. Constitution’s core promises of equal protection under the law to all and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Just as importantly, racial profiling is ineffective. It alienates communities from law enforcement, hinders community policing efforts, and causes law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve.
“Police do a dangerous, difficult job, and they do it well. But experience shows us that improper profiling by police does terrible damage,” Frosh explained in a statement about the new guidelines.
Read more: countercurrentnews.com