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Police Racial Profiling in the US

Info: 2308 words (9 pages) Law Essay
Published: 7th Aug 2019

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Jurisdiction(s): US Law

Racial profiling involves the act of targeting a particular group of individuals based on their ethnic group rather than suspecting them at an individual level (Zack, 2015). The issue of police racial profiling has erupted in many countries of the world. In the United States of America, Police racial profiling has become an obstacle. There is always emerging news from different media group across the globe that shows how people face different challenges such as harassment and killings because they belong to a particular race. Some politicians in the United States of America are also in the front line to pass laws that support racial profiling. Public safety is being undermined by such police racial profiling hence making this aspect very immoral in contemporary society. One of the evidence that shows that police racial profiling exists in the United States of America is the rising rate of incarceration that majorly portrays that the police arrest some individuals based on their race (Zack, 2015). Therefore, the law enforcers use the basis of ethnicity or racial factor to justify crimes committed by people. Many individuals have reacted in different ways concerning the issue of police racial profiling. Some people have supported the issue of police racial profiling while others are against it. Based on the above discussion, police racial profiling has some impacts on society that are mainly negative.

Police racial profiling undermines human rights in the United States of America (Zack, 2015). There are several rights that both indigenous Americans and non-indigenous Americans need to enjoy. For instance, every individual has the power of being protected equally by the law. The law should protect people regardless of their race. The aspect of equality before the law is undermined by some law enforcing agencies in the United States of America because they cannot conduct thorough research to get to the bottom of the case since they use racial stereotypes to convict suspects. Though some legal frameworks such the Supreme Court is against this activity, there are some police officers who glorifies racial profiling while conducting their operations. It is not right to argue that some races are connected with criminal activities. Racial stereotypes and prejudices are therefore termed to be retrogressive because it hinders the process of making the United States of America a diverse nation.

Founders of the United States of America supported justice across all levels of the law. They argued that racial profiling is not constitutional and should be rejected in the United States of America (Zack, 2015). Even though many people are against police racial profiling, statistics depicts that this issue is a plague in the USA and is mainly escalated by the police departments. Several instances can be used to prove that police racial profiling exists in the United States of America. The police had been seen using Hispanic origin to justify drug crimes among individuals. It means that those people who are of Hispanic descent were highly attached to drug paddling or abuse. Though such activities, the police are not able to conduct a proper investigation because they have already put claims on the individual citizen from Hispanic cultures. Similarly, the Arab community are also victims of the circumstance. Since there are many incidences of terrorism in the Arab population, some police agency in the United States of America is using this weakness to justify that Arabs are criminals of terrorist attacks. The issue of police racial profiling on the Muslim community can also be traced from the 9/11 incidence that left several Americans dead. Since such attacks were connected to Islamic terror groups, the government of the United States of America started radical campaigns of antiterrorism against some Muslim society within the USA. It therefore implies that the police do not interrogate suspected criminals with Arab origin but mainly convict them because their nations exercise such activities.  All these indicate that police racial profiling is likely to generate from such anti-terrorism campaigns that led to negative stereotypes and prejudice of some races in the United States of America.

Empirical evidence depicts that the police in the USA mainly use race to justify street-based crimes in different states (Legewie, 2016). Police racial profiling is widespread in different streets and roads in the USA. Many data collected by research institutes such as labor bureau institutions confirms that there is inconsistency on how the police conduct their activities in the traffic stops. It means that there are a particular race or ethnic communities that are considered to be lawbreakers in the streets hence increasing the rate of suspicion towards such groups. Moreover, many police officers also argue that there is a link between street crimes and African American citizens thus perform minimal investigation concerning such crimes.

Furthermore, police racial profiling does not only apply to motorists but also some pedestrians. Many pedestrians have found themselves locked in police custody without committing any criminal act (Legewie, 2016). It means that the police have already formed an opinion that pedestrians of a given race hold certain qualities of criminals. The research demonstrates that the police who is on official patrol will mainly stop and conduct a thorough search on African American pedestrians because he or she has already formed opinion that people of this race normally act against the law.

Some investigative programs increase the issue of police racial profiling. Introduction of Operation Front Line (OFL) that aimed at detecting and eliminating terrorism attack has led to discrimination of many individuals from a different race. Even though the Operation Front Line was introduced to enhance safety during the election process in the United States of America, some critics argue that it increased the problem of racial profiling within many states. Statistics that was drawn from the Homeland Security depicts that most of the individuals who were being investigated under Operation Front mechanism were mainly from Muslim race hence introducing an aspect of racial disparity. It means that individuals who had Muslim origin were the primary target as compared to people from other races. Some people who criticize such movement and operations argue that there is no significant element of crimes that were detected from such investigation hence the program was not objective because it was aligned towards certain race (Legewie, 2016). Moreover, the centre that was established to screen terrorist by FBI specialist is claimed to have contributed to police racial profile because the main suspects to be tested were from Muslim and Arab ethnic groups. All these actions undermined the rights of some individuals because they are segregated. Many individuals have filed cases in the American court of law claiming that they were being harassed by the police at the airport because of terrorism suspicion. Such suspicions emerged because these people’s origin can be traced from the Middle East hence portraying police racial profiling within the United States of America.

There are several impacts of police racial profiling that can be experienced not only in the United States of America but also in other parts of the world. One of the effects of police racial profiling is that it contributes to the decline of the economy. Racial police profiling instils fear among prospective investors (Epp, Maynard‐Moody, & Haider‐Markel, 2017). When investors are not comfortable with specific policies or police activities they are likely to close down their business so that they can find better places. Police racial profiling is expected to make the business environment very unconducive hence discriminating business people. All these imply that countries that experience police racial profiling have a higher percentage of losing investors thus contributing to the economic decline. For instance, some groups of potential investors are afraid of moving their operations to certain states because police profiling is rampant in such areas hence deeming that particular country the opportunity to progress economically.

Another effect of police racial profiling is that it has led to fear among citizens of a particular race (Manski, & Nagin, 2017). For instance, some individuals are afraid of being convicted by the police without any good reason. It means that these people will generally hide their identity hence denying them the freedom to associate with others. For example, some members from Islamic states who live in the United States of America feels that they are target group by the police concerning terrorist attacks therefore feeling insecure in every place. Moreover, when foreign citizens are not free to move and work, the level of production will decrease in many manufacturing and processing sectors therefore impacting the current and future market structure.

Consequently, police racial profiling violates the laws of the land. The constitution can be broken when the police are actively involved in evaluating cases based on race (Manski, & Nagin, 2017). All laws contained in the constitution should be respected and practiced effectively for the benefit of all citizens. Moreover, many police officers also argue that there is a link between street crimes and African American citizens hence perform little investigation concerning such crimes. Violation of the laws implies that the constitution of the nation is undermined therefore disrespecting the rule of law. Moreover, police racial profiling suggests that some group of individuals are above the law hence leading to discriminations.  

Since police racial profiling is an irritating issue, several actions can be implemented to eliminate this disaster across all continents of the world. Training and retraining of the police force are one of the measures that can be taken to terminate police racial profiling (Dunham & Petersen, 2017). The general police agency should be educated on the dangers of racial profiling in the country. For example, the police should understand that the rate of investments is likely to decline due to racial discrimination and profiling hence negatively impacting the economy. Through such training and educational sessions, the police officers can reconstruct their social identity thus developing a proper interaction habit with other people from different races.

Furthermore, discipline should be instilled in the police agency. It is essential to introduce disciplinary measures to any police officer who practices racial profiling in the line of duty (Dunham, & Petersen, 2017). For instance, some penalties should be attached to such violations of human rights to ensure that all individuals enjoy their fundamental rights and fundamental freedom in a country. Gross misconduct of any police officer should be dealt with accordingly. Consequently, termination of the contract of the police officers who continuously exercise racial profiling should be implemented by the police employer. 

Both citizens and non-citizens living in the United States of America should develop the culture of reporting police racial profiling cases to a trusted authority. When individuals report the police officers who discriminate others by their skin color, there is a high possibility of change because effective measures can be taken to such police personnel (Dunham, & Petersen, 2017).

To sum up, police racial profile is indeed a dominant issue mostly in the United States of America. Even though the government of USA is doing everything to enhance security in the nation, police agencies should consider the rights of every person living in the USA without discriminations. It is critical for the government to use interactive or proactive measures while curbing crimes. There is need to transform police institution through training and introducing a disciplinary action in their operations because the issue of police racial profiling can negatively affect the country through the decline in the economy and introduction of fear and misery among citizens. All these means that the whole world should learn and use effective strategies to promote diversity.


  • Dunham, R. G., & Petersen, N. (2017). Making Black Lives Matter: Evidence‐Based Policies for Reducing Police Bias in the Use of Deadly Force. Criminology & Public Policy16(1), 341-348.
  • Epp, C. R., Maynard‐Moody, S., & Haider‐Markel, D. (2017). Beyond profiling: The institutional sources of racial disparities in policing. Public Administration Review77(2), 168-178.
  • Legewie, J. (2016). Racial profiling and use of force in police stop: How local events trigger periods of increased discrimination. American journal of sociology122(2), 379-424.
  • Manski, C. F., & Nagin, D. S. (2017). Assessing benefits, costs, and disparate racial impacts of confrontational proactive policing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences114(35), 9308-9313.
  • Zack, N. (2015). White privilege and black rights: The injustice of US police racial profiling and homicide. Rowman & Littlefield.

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