A03949 Summary:

COSPNSRRobinson, Gantt, Mosley, Jaffee, Titus, Gottfried, Sepulveda, Blake, Walker, Aubry
MLTSPNSRBrennan, Farrell, Hooper, Peoples-Stokes, Simon, Titone
Add S837-s, Exec L
Prohibits police officers from using racial and ethnic profiling; requires that a procedure be established for the taking and review of complaints against police officers for racial and ethnic profiling; allows an action for injunctive relief and/or damages to be brought against a law enforcement agency, any agent of a law enforcement agency and the supervisor of an agent.
Go to top    

A03949 Actions:

01/28/2015referred to codes
03/05/2015advanced to third reading cal.81
06/02/2015passed assembly
06/02/2015delivered to senate
01/06/2016DIED IN SENATE
01/06/2016ordered to third reading cal.165
Go to top

A03949 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Wright (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to ethnic or racial profiling   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The proposed legislation prohibits law enforcement officers from using racial and ethnic profiling, establishes a collection of data on traffic stops and creates a cause of action based on racial or ethnic profiling.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 - amends the executive law by creating a new section 837-r; Subdivision 1 contains definitions. Subdivision 2 prohibits law enforcement agencies and*law enforcement officers from engaging in racial or ethnic profiling. Subdivision 3 requires every law enforcement agency to promulgate and adopt procedures for reviewing complaints of racial or ethnic profiling and taking corrective measures. A copy of each complaint and a written summary of the disposition must be forwarded to the division of criminal justice services. Subdivision 4 requires each law enforcement agency to collect and main- tain data with respect to traffic stops and persons patted down, frisked and searched. Subdivision 5 requires every law enforcement agency to compile the data collected and forward an annual report to the division of criminal justice services by March 1st of each year. Subdivision 6 requires the division of criminal justice services in consultation with the Attorney General to promulgate necessary forms. Subdivision 7 requires every law enforcement agency to make documents required by this bill available to the Attorney General within 5 days of a demand. Subdivision 8 requires every law enforcement agency to provide all data collected from traffic stops to the division of criminal justice services. The division shall implement a computerized data system for public viewing of such data and shall publish an annual report on law enforcement traffic stops without revealing the identity of any individ- uals. Subdivision 9 states that an action for injunctive relief and/or for damages may be brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the people against a law enforcement agency that has engaged in racial or ethnic profiling. A court may award casts and reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff. Subdivision 10 states that an action for injunctive relief and/or for damages may be brought by an individual that has been the subject of racial profiling against a law enforcement agency that has engaged in racial or ethnic profiling. A court may award costs and reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff. Subdivision 11 provides that section 837-r does not diminish or abrogate any other right, remedy or cause of action which an individual who has been the subject of racial profiling may have. Section 2 - contains the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: As a part of the national "war on drugs" local enforcement agencies around the country have developed profiles of people they think are most likely to be involved in drug trafficking. The arguably unconstitu- tional use of race or ethnicity as a criteria has become the focus of many civil and human rights groups. The practice is commonly known as "racial profiling." Many people of color including prominent athletes, members of Congress, actors, lawyers, law enforcement officers and busi- ness leaders have experienced the humiliation of being stopped on the nations roads as a result of this practice. Almost every minority can tell a story about being stopped by the police for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin. In recent years, the number of "traffic stops" where the only apparent reason for stopping the person was their race or ethnicity, has become so prevalent that the minority community has derisively termed it "Driving While Black or Brown" (DNB). Blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups have long been victims of biased and unjustified traffic stops by law enforcement officers. This consequently has had a corrosive effect on the relations between police and the minority communities. As a result of racial profiling, many innocent Black drivers can end up parked on a highway, questioned by law-enforcement, while their vehicles and belongings are searched. In a sense, the U.S. Supreme Court established an open season on minority motorists in 1956 when it ruled in Whren v. U.S., 571 U.S. 896 (1996), that police could use any traffic offense as a reason to stop a motor- ist. Minority motorists can be and are pulled over and detained for the most trivial of traffic offenses which are contained in many cities vehicle codes. These offenses range from violations of tire depth to the distance in which a motorist must signal before turning. Many of these stops are made upon a selective basis where there is a lot of police discretion. This roadside detention may be used as a pretext for search- ing the car and its occupants. This practice deprives minority motorists of their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and their right to be free from discriminations based on race guaranteed under the fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: Cases of racial profiling have steadily increased as the war on drugs has intensified. The all-out battle to keep drug traffickers from trans- porting illegal substances has unfairly legitimized the practice of racial profiling and the notion of many police officers that Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities are more likely to possess drugs. Racial profiling has created a system that unfairly infringes on the rights of innocent black and minority motorists. Some of these traffic stops lead to arrests for drug possession or other crimes; however; the concern arises in the number of law-abiding minorities who are stopped on our roads every day so that a few guilty people can be found. The issue of racial profiling has gained national attention as charge of racial profiling have been disclosed to the public. The recent suit of racial profiling filed against the State of New Jersey (1999), further pushed the issue to the forefront. The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court (United States of America v. State of New Jersey & the Division of State Police of the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety: Civil 4 99-5970 MLC) against the State of New Jersey alleged a pattern or practice of conduct by troopers of the State Police that deprived persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, includ- ing the Fourteenth Amendment and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Furthermore, the complainant alleged that this pattern or practice of conduct had been made possible by the failure of the New Jersey State Police to adopt and implement proper management practices and procedures. There has been no systematic effort to either track statistics or establish policy that deals directly with the issues of racial profiling in New York State. In light of these circumstances and as incidences of Racial Profiling continue to occur within the State of New York, it has become paramount for New York to address the issue of racial profiling before it further continues to undermine the collabora- tive relationship between communities of color and New York law enforce- ment officers. This legislation aims to resolve the problem by prohibit- ing police officers from using racial and ethnic profiling, by establishing policies and procedures to collect data on racial and ethnic profiling and by establishing a statewide public data base containing the collected data which will promote law enforcement integ- rity as well as to promote community support, particularly minority communities, for law enforcement officers.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2031-2014: A2941 2011-2012; A.2288 2010: A.1676A 2009 A.1676 Passed Assembly 2007 A. 627 Passed Assembly 2005-06 A. 2456A Passed Assembly 2003-04 A. 11542 Passed Assembly   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Related to the promulgation of regulations, the collection of data, the publishing of an annual report and the establishment of the public data base.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect within 30 days
Go to top