Racial Profiling


Racial Profiling Essay, Research Paper

The topic of racial profiling amongst minority individuals in the state of New Jersey has been a heated issue for the past several years. This department has been charged with numerous allegations of racism and is the main focus for racial based events in police departments nationwide.

Although racial profiling amongst police officers in the state of New Jersey has been a major issue for many years, it has not been until recently that action has been taken in order to investigate the alleged profiling that has occurred. Hence, until recently, “African American drivers on the New Jersey turnpike stood a much greater chance than white drivers being stopped by the state police for a random drug search.”(Cohen) However, racial profiling is not only holding victims of minority simply on the road, but also minority-based officers within the department are being victimized as well. Moreover, the issue of racial profiling has been raised in the courts and will continue to be analyzed.

On April 21, 1999 Governor Christie Todd Whitman spoke at a press conference in Newark, NJ. She stated that,

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“evidence of racial profiling is not something the state had any reason to anticipate.”(Whitman) In contrast, the

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey stated, “officials have been fighting this issue for more than five years. (ACLU) Moreover, Based on statistical evidence presented to the courts in 1994 and 1995, they found in a 1996 decision that “a policy of racial profiling was in operation on the New Jersey Turnpike”(Diamond). Moreover, the state has consistently disputed the courts’ findings, yet up until one week before the state’s appeal was to be argued in court, the state had dropped all charges of its appeal. In evidence, reports presented at trial in the case of State vs. Soto, it revealed that although African Americans “comprised only 13.5% of drivers and 15% of the vehicles speeding along the stretch of the turnpike in South Jersey, they comprised 46.2% of the people stopped by the State Police”. (Diamond) Furthermore, State vs. Soto was the case in which broke the ice when addressing the problem of racial profiling in New Jersey.

After the case of State vs. Soto was ended in the courts, the U.S. Justice Department led allegations against

the New Jersey State Police. In order to rectify the

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situation, reports stated, “the State Police do not consider race ethnicity or national origin in deciding who is stopped.”(Cohen) Thus, in lieu of the accusations forced

upon the state police the department, they were ordered to implement racial hiring quotas imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice. However when addressing this issue it was stated by Carson Dunbar, Superintendent of Policing in New Jersey that, “many of the minority applicants still failed the easier application requirements”.

Furthermore, due to the rigorous accusations, officials implemented rules that required minority officers. However, they claim that they were unable to reach their quota due to their lack of qualified minority applicants. Hence, the statistical breakdown of the applicants in 1999 was as follows, out of 5,023 candidates, “57% were white, 18% black, 15% Hispanic and 3 % Asian.”(Diamond) However, out of the 105 recruits that were selected for training , “85% were white, 10% Hispanic, 4% black, and 1% Asian.”(Diamond) Consequently, under the terms of the legal agreement set forth by the Department of Justice, the state police were mandated to recruit at least 22% black candidates and 11% Hispanic. As figures above

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state, even if combined black and Hispanic recruits, the number would still not amount to 22%. Thus, although legal documents are created, they are respectively not being implemented.

Besides implementing new quota regulations on hiring, Christie Todd Whitman made the decision to replace 58 year

old white Superintendent Williams with black FBI Agent Carson Dunbar Jr. who became the first minority to lead the states predominately white 2,700 member trooper force. Many still debate that the only reason Williams was replaced was to take the issue of racial profiling out of the limelight. Furthermore, about 4 months after firing Williams, Whitman echoed comments in a New York Times Magazine article that quoted her saying, “troopers can use race as one of several factors when determining who is suspected of committing a crime.” (Ruderman) That statement however, seemed inconsistent with the firing of Williams whom was terminated specifically on the above statement.

Hence, O.W. Wilson once stated, “Some of the desirable personal qualities of patrol officers”. They included (1) initiative; (2) the capacity for responsibility; (3) the

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ability to deal alone with emergencies; (4) the capacity to communicate effectively with persons of diverse social, cultural, and ethnic background; (5) the ability to learn a variety of tasks quickly; (6) the attitude and ability necessary to adapt to technological changes; (7) the desire to help people in need; (8) an understanding of others; (9)emotional maturity; and (10) sufficient physical strength and endurance. Thus, these tasks can be implemented by a majority of the population no matter what ones ethnic background happens to be. Hence racial profiling has been occurring for many years. Furthermore, the strong voices of the American people are refusing more and more every day to tolerate this issue. Thus is why an age-old issue of racism is being disputed within our nations justice department. This topic has reached every other industry within the United States since the beginning of the Civil War and will continue to sweep the nation until justice prevails.

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1. End Racial Profiling, John D. Cohen, 2000, Blueprint. Copyright 1999 http://ndol.org/blueprint/fall2000/cohen-lennon-wasserman.html

2. Minority Trooper Recruits Still Low, Randy Diamond, The Bergen Record, August 23, 2000. http://www.bergen.com/news/recruitr200008237.htm

3. Fired State Police Supt. Williams Sues NJ for Race Bias, Wendy Ruderman, New Jersey On-Line, October 3, 1999. http://www.nj.com/news/times/stories/10-3-ukbbfqsb.html

4. ACLU Says NJ Officials Still in Denial on Racial Profiling, American Civil Liberties Union, April 21, 1999, Copyright 1999. http://www.aclu.org/news/1999/n042199a.html

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