April 18, 2012

Assembly Approves Measure to End Racial Profiling in
New York State

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined today with Assemblymen Keith Wright and Joseph Lentol to announce the passage of legislation that whould prohibit law enforcement officers from using racial and ethnic profiling as a pretext for determining that an individual should be suspected of criminal activity.

"Racial profiling has undermined the collaborative relationship between communities of color and New York law enforcement officers," said Silver. "Legislative action taken today aims to restore trust between law enforcement and minority communities and to help ensure that police only stop and question people based on a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and not on the perceived race or ethnic status of the individual."

"Being targeted by law enforcement because of your race or ethnicity has become an all too familiar scenario for People of Color throughout New York State," said Wright, sponsor of the legislation. "I myself have been subject to racial profiling by a police officer who didn't think an African-American man should be driving a car with New York State Assembly license plates. By taking a proactive approach in New York to prevent law enforcement from engaging in racial profiling, we will not only improve the quality of life in our communities, we will also improve the relationship between law enforcement and Communities of Color."

"These practices divert police attention away from more effective evidence-based law enforcement techniques," said Lentol, chair of the Codes Committee. "Racial profiling wastes police resources and causes the distrust of law enforcement in minority communities. The enactment of this legislation will promote better law enforcement practices as well as community support for the important work that they do."

The bill (A.2288/ Wright) includes provisions that would prohibit police officers from using racial and ethnic profiling during the performance of their duties by: