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Jennifer Cerpe

Ms. Trebtoske
Period 4
December 8, 2014
Injustice in the Modern World: Racial Profiling
Racial Profiling towards African Americans is very prominent in the United
States. The police force needs to eliminate the idea of racial profiling because they
are the perpetrator of this crime.
Many people in the U.S. today believe that there is significant racial profiling
against the African American community in the police force. Due to the history of
racism and segregation towards African Americans, it is believed that racial profiling
is the biggest reason for majority of the deaths and arrest of innocent citizens.
There is a sense of fear in the African American community because while police
officers are supposed to be protecting them from danger and crime, the officers are
putting them in the danger instead. According to the 2008 study, released earlier
this month, when a vehicle of a white driver was "consent-searched," officers
statewide found contraband 24.7 percent of the time. When a vehicle driven by a
minority was searched, officers found contraband 15.4 percent of the time"
(Sweeney). This isnt to say that African Americans are better than White people but
it is something factual that people seem to not pay attention to, and in this case
specifically, police officers. It is astonishing at the fact that these are factual
numbers given to the public and the police officers yet there are still teenagers and
adults being shot and killed because a police officer suspected they had a weapon.

When chances are, no weapon was even involved. Whatever the reasons, the
results are the same: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested than any other racial
group in the USA. In some places, dramatically so (Heath). No one can necessarily
put their finger on it as to why African Americans are targeting for harshly by the
police force. However, it all traces back to history. Even then, African Americans
were not necessarily bad people but more different and viewed as a threat for no
particular reason. And history continues to repeat itself and putting this huge
community into danger due to racial profiling.
Many believe that law enforcement has nothing to do with race, but rather
with the circumstances of the crime being committed. Police officers are constantly
accused of racially profiling African Americans, which creates a divide among the
public and the police force. Whenever a police officer, specifically a white male,
targets an African American male, the public automatically points fingers and
accuse it to be racial profiling. A perception that police target members of specific
ethnic or racial groups creates a deep divide between the police and the
communities we serve. But as an officer who has spent a lot of time patrolling the
city's streets, I just don't think the perception is accurate. True racial profiling, in
which people are targeted solely because of race or ethnicity, is both illegal and
immoral. It destroys public trust and reduces the effectiveness of the police. There
is no place for it in law enforcement (Dutta). Police begin to feel attacked by the
public because the way they are trained is not to single out on the race of a person,
but the crime and situation at hand. Law enforcement officers rely on their training
and experience when developing a case and if their expertise leads them to believe
that a subject is involved in, or about to be involved in criminal activity, this belief
should not be discounted simply because it was based partly on the subject's race

or ethnicity (Kaenel). Police officers are supposed to use race, age, gender and
appearance while investigating crimes. This doesnt necessarily mean they are
hunting down and targeting a certain group all the time, but when the victim of a
crime specifies race, racial profiling will in fact be used to depict the criminal.
Although the problem cannot be put to a complete stop, there are ways to
prevent the specific profiling and to find the truth from any given situation in which
racial profiling against African Americans took place. For more than a decade, there
has been a push to put video cameras in all patrol cars to record officer interactions
with those they stop. There have been technical difficulties and problems with cost.
But ultimately this is a crucial step to take to reduce community perceptions of
racial profiling. We should also equip offices with personal video cams. Recording
every police-citizen interaction would not only keep officers professional, it would
greatly increase the conviction rate of criminals, reduce expenses of the criminal
justice system and build trust in police-public relations (Dutta). This approach could
potentially work in certain cases like the Michael Brown case or Eric Garner. The
footage would reveal the truth behind what the cop saw and heard, and give a
reliable answer as to what happened. However, this could have a bad effect with it.
Another problem involves the crucial issue of when -- and whether -- officers are
simply turning off cameras at crucial moments. In New Orleans earlier this year, a
police officer shot a man named Armand Bennett in the forehead during a traffic
stop, then failed to report the fact the incident happened (for which the city's police
chief later apologized). As the press dug into the story, it turned out that the officer
who shot Bennett was outfitted with a body camera, but the device was switched
off (Louis). The fact that body cameras were given to police so that the truth could
be found behind the crimes, and a police officer dismantled it is appalling. It is

extremely easy for a police officer to turn off the camera so no footage is shown
when they kill an innocent citizen. Which backfires the idea and money behind this
approach. Which in fact could potentially help citizens, but the law enforcement
goes against the wishes.
To try and change history and peoples personal beliefs and opinions is
impossible, because what had happened already happened. However, there are
ways to prevent it from happening. Racial profiling has become a major conflict in
our society today but hasnt been addressed completely. Citizens form riots to be
heard, but no one listens. Those who need to listen are the ones who are
committing the crime. The duty of a police officer is to protect citizens, black or
white, young or old, male or female, gay or straight. But it is hard to believe they do
this when innocent people are shot and killed because of their skin color.
Segregation was abolished years ago, but racism still lays today. To put a stop to it
is difficult. But to live on and change the views for the ones who have passed and to
address solutions to how it can be seen how horrifying this really is, is a start.

Works Cited
Dutta, Sunil. "Not Race Alone." Los Angeles Times. 22 Nov. 2010: A.17. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.
Heath, Brad. "Blacks Arrested Up to 10 Times More." USA TODAY. 19 Nov. 2014: A.1.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.14.
Kaenel, Rob Von. "Racial Profiling - A Pragmatic Approach." Sheriff. May/Jun 2011:

50. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.


Louis, Errol. Police body cams: Will they really help? CNN Opinion. 5 Dec. 2014.
Web. 17 Dec. 2014.
Sweeney, Annie. "Few Surprises in State Traffic Stop Study." Chicago Tribune
(Chicago, IL). 26 Jul. 2009: 8. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.