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San Diego Police & Racial Profiling

The ACLU San Diego  and Darren Chaker reported on racial profiling in San Diego. Before the term became media trendy, Darren disclosed to the Mayor in 1996 about illegal police practices being taught in the police academy. While in the police academy, Darren witnessed in its infancy what is now known as racial profiling. Darren broke the code of silence and made his concerns public by addressing the San Diego City Council. Incredibly, after departing the police academy, Darren subsequently invalidated a law aimed at protecting from ‘false complaints’ by targeting citizens with threats of jail if police believed the complaint was false. See Chaker v. Crogan, 428 F.3d 1215 C.A.9 (Cal.),2005, Cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1128, 126 S.Ct. 2023, invalidated a statute on First Amendment grounds and overruled the California Supreme Court‘s unanimous decision in People v. Stanistreet, 127 Cal.Rptr.2d 633.

During the time Darren spoke to the city council, the New York Police Department were sued an eventually settled a lawsuit for racial profiling. In 1997 and 1998, 35,000 of the 45,000 stop-and-frisks reported did not result in an arrest. The impact of these stops on African-Americans was particularly alarming.  A statistical analysis of reported stop-and-frisks released by the New York State Attorney General in December 1999 revealed that the police stopped 16 African-Americans for every arrest made. More recently, a federal court decided the NYPD’s ‘stop and frisk’ policy is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin called it “indirect racial profiling”.

In Arizona, the federal government found continuing racial profiling in its investigation concluded in 2011. The investigation revealed in part a systemic problem with the complaint procedure of the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office: “MCSO has a policy of routing all misconduct complaints to the immediate supervisor of the deputy involved. The first-line supervisor then has discretion to close the investigation without any further involvement from the command structure or Internal Affairs and without further documenting the complaint in any way. Consequently, MCSO does not track complaints directed at deputies or units within the organization.”

Although the above demonstrates tension between police with those who are policed, it is important to note it is often society who shapes the mannerism and tolerance of police. A police officer in Los Angles, California will often have a different persona than an officer in Provo, Utah. With the above in mind, and recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, one can only hope both police and society can respect each other.

Racial profiling in San Diego matured into the issue it is today and is widely recognized as reported by the San Diego ACLU.


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