Support Ellison Amendment to CJS (H.R. 4660) Prevent Discriminatory Profiling by Law Enforcement
Advocacy Letter - 05/29/14
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to support the amendment to be offered by Rep. Keith Ellison (D. MN) to the FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). This amendment would prevent law enforcement agencies that receive federal funding from engaging in profiling based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation. Passage of this amendment is needed to help end profiling by law enforcement officials and to ensure that individuals are not prejudicially stopped, investigated, arrested, or detained based on their appearance, rather than their behavior.
Profiling involves the unwarranted screening of certain groups of people who are assumed by the police and other law enforcement agents to be predisposed to criminal behavior. Multiple studies have proven that racial profiling results in the misallocation of law enforcement resources and therefore a failure to identify actual crimes that are planned and committed. By relying on stereotypes rather than proven investigative procedures, profiling needlessly harms the lives of innocent people by law enforcement agencies and officials.
The Leadership Conference believes profiling is a pervasive and harmful practice that negatively impacts both individuals and communities. It results in a loss of trust and confidence in local, state, and federal law enforcement. Although most individuals learn from an early age that the role of law enforcement is to fairly defend and guard communities from people who want to cause harm to others, this fundamental message is often contradicted when these same defenders are seen as unnecessarily and unjustifiably harassing innocent citizens. Criminal investigations are flawed and hindered because people and communities impacted by these stereotypes are less likely to cooperate with law enforcement agencies they have grown to mistrust.
We urge you to support the Ellison amendment, which would ensure that no federal funds are used by any law enforcement entity that engages in discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation. Thank you for considering our views. If you have any questions, please contact Lexer Quamie, Senior Counsel at 202-466-3648.
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