While police officers are employed to serve and protect, they are as prone to being corrupt or having a personal bias as much as any other person. In some cases, a police officer will assume a person of a particular race must be breaking in when they are trying to go into their own home, while other times, a person may be pulled over on the road for looking or dressing a certain way. Regardless of how it happens, this is considered to be racial profiling.
In the 1950s, behavioral scientists agreed upon psychological profiles to fit the description of serious criminals, such as serial murderers. The next decade, at the beginning of the 1960s, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency created characteristics they believed criminals shared after airliner hijackings and drug smuggling busts had been prevalent. Even more recently, after September 11, 2001, profiling was intensified after the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. This profiling also became adopted by the Transportation Security Administration.
A Defense of “Good Profiling”
There are law enforcement officials, intelligence officers, and even behavioral scientists today that argue a good investigation needs profiling in order to work. Those people claim it is simply the application of observational skills alongside intuition that without, officers cannot employ proper investigatory techniques. In this profiling, they say officers must take note of patterns that certain criminals will take while committing a crime.
There is some justification for this, such as studies that have shown some officers do have an ability to make judgments about suspects accurately in only a few seconds. There is also a note that a criminal suspect’s race is an important part of correctly identifying the person, and an important means of setting forth a proper description of them.
Racial Stereotypes in Profiling
Of course, not all profiling is by the book and only used to catch a predator. For instance, in many cities across the U.S., there are a lot of issues and dangers with the stop and frisk programs currently in use. These programs allow police to stop any person and frisk them for weapons or other illegal items. The program is boasted to keep guns off the street and claims to help prevent gang violence before it occurs. However, some statistics show people of color are disproportionately stopped. Additionally, a 2002 study showed that on I-95, which spans from Florida to the New England states, only 17 percent of drivers were African American yet 70 percent to 80 percent of vehicles searched were driven by African Americans.
While knowing someone’s race might help with identifying the right person for a crime already committed, opponents call these types of numbers into question and note the police misconduct that often happens to people of color.
Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle Defend Citizens Against Police Brutality and Misconduct
If you or someone you love has been targeted due to race, or an officer used unnecessary force during an arrest, call 800-555-7780 or contact us online today. Our Philadelphia police misconduct lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle are committed to winning the compensation victims deserve, no matter how high the cards seem stacked against them. At our offices in Philadelphia, we proudly serve the Greater Philadelphia area including Philadelphia County, Delaware Count, Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Chester County.