Washington, DC — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today joined Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and leading civil rights groups to urge their colleagues in the Senate and House to come together and pass the End Racial Profiling Act. Senator Cardin is the author of S. 1038, the Senate version of the bill, which has 16 cosponsors including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Assistant Majority Leader/Judiciary Committee Member Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Congressman Conyers introduced his House companion bill today. This is the second time the two have been partners on this legislation.
“Racial profiling is simply wrong. It doesn’t work, it wastes valuable resources and diminishes the willingness of targeted communities from trusting and working with police when the need is real,” said Senator Cardin. “We need a uniform definition of racial profiling so that law enforcement can concentrate on investigating real crimes and real leads, and men and women across the country can feel secure that they are not being pulled over or harassed by law enforcement solely based on their race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity. The vast majority of law enforcement officials, who put their lives on the line every day, work with professionalism, diligence, and fidelity to the rule of law. But racial profiling is legal in far too many states and we need to end this bad policy now.”
Racial profiling is defined in a standard, consistent definition as the practice of a law enforcement agent relying on race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin as a factor in their investigations and activities. The legislation creates an exception for the use of these factors where there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and time frame, which links persons of a particular race, ethnicity, or national origin to an identified incident or scheme.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “Ending Racial Profiling in America” in April 2012, in which Sen. Cardin testified about his legislation.
The End Racial Profiling Act has been endorsed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Rights Working Group, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, the Sikh Coalition and over 130 other national, state, and local civil and legal rights organizations.