(Washington, DC) A bill pending before the United States Senate would ban state and local law enforcement agencies from engaging in racial profiling. The law, if passed, also would require state or local governments eligible for certain federal grants to put in place either an administrative complaint procedure or an independent auditor program to address racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.
The District of Columbia's Office of Police Complaints (OPC) already has the authority to investigate and resolve complaints filed by the public alleging racial profiling or other types of police officer misconduct. As well, OPC participates on a task force that is monitoring the project being run by the city's Metropolitan Police Department to collect and analyze traffic and pedestrian stop data to determine whether racial profiling is occurring in Washington, DC.
Under the provisions of the federal bill, all local governmental units receiving federal grants for law enforcement purposes would have to certify that they have established or are maintaining procedures for "receiving, investigating, and responding meaningfully to complaints alleging racial profiling by law enforcement agents." Local governments could satisfy this requirement by having an independent administrative process to resolve racial profiling complaints against the police or by having an independent auditor to monitor and report to the Attorney General of the United States on the efforts of the relevant police agency to end racial profiling in their local jurisdiction.
In addition, the bill would ban racial profiling and provide funding for the retraining of law enforcement officials on how to discontinue and prevent the use of racial profiling. The bill also establishes a private right of action for victims of racial profiling to sue in either state or federal court.
The bill, which is called the "End Racial Profiling Act of 2005," was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary after being introduced on December 16, 2005. The proposed legislation was introduced by Senators Russell D. Feingold, Jon S. Corzine, Frank R. Lautenberg, Edward M. Kennedy, Richard Durbin, John F. Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Christopher J. Dodd, Maria Cantwell, Barbara A. Mikulski and Barak Obama.
Please select the link below to view the bill:
Select the link below to view the section of OPC's Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Report discussing the racial profiling data collection and analysis project currently underway in Washington, DC:
OPC and PCB together form the District of Columbia’s independent police accountability agency. The agency’s primary mission is to investigate and resolve police misconduct complaints filed by the public against MPD and DC Housing Authority Police Department (DCHAPD) officers. For additional information about the agency, please contact OPC’s public affairs specialist, Melanie Deggins, at (202) 727-3838.