The Roots of Racial Profiling

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Ms. Wills is a writer, researcher, and genealogist, and author of the forthcoming book, Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Color: Colonial Virginia, 1650-1850 (March 2003).

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How old is racial profiling?

The Free Negro Registry was a means of identifying and tracking so-called Free Persons of Color. In colonial Virginia, all Free Persons of Color were required to show identification to any white person on demand. After the Civil War, the laws were reversed, but only to be revived in 1880 as the Jim Crow laws (named after a black minstrel character). Many of the Jim Crow laws were repealed during the 1960's Civil Rights movement; however, they are resurfacing again in the guise of racial profiling.

Although racial profiling is not backed by written statutes, its roots are in the laws enacted during colonial times. Racial profiling, for want of a better term, is a Gateway Act -- an excuse used to approach citizens assumed to be criminals.

Take the stories of Mary and Patty Bowden, mulatto indentured servants born in the mid-eighteenth century to George Washington's family. At the age of seven, Mary was profiled and taken to court by Augustine Washington Senior (George Washington's father). At court, she was judged to be mulatto, sentenced to a thirty-year indenture, and was ordered to serve her indenture with Washington. Because of her mixed race status, Mary had no rights in her community. Today , because of their appearance and ethnicity, citizens are being stopped, searched, and arrested. Were Mary to return to modern-day America she might pause to wonder if she was in the 18th century, not the 21st.

The Free Negro Registry required registration every three years in the Virginia counties and cities. The minimum recorded information included the age, name, color and stature, by whom and in what court the said Negro, or mulatto, was emancipated. Most registrations went further and recorded skin color (dark or light mulatto), hair texture and color (straight, kinky, red, or black), height, marks or colors, and the names of parents. The Free Negro Registry was a means to restrict the coming and going of Negroes in colonial Virginia and other parts of the South.

Today almost every adult is required to carry some form of identification. If you are stopped, and do not have identification, you can be taken to a police station. What were the consequences of failing to carry the required papers during colonial period? For Free Persons of Color, the worst-case scenario was being sold into slavery. Or they could be thrown in jail until a white person came forward on their behalf.

Today, if a citizen is pulled over on a traffic stop, and cannot show proper identification, the outcome is left to the discretion of the officer. Not only can the driver be questioned and detained, the passengers and the car can be searched. If you are a member of a targeted group, you may be taken to the station, and held there until you are cleared. That probably sounds foreign to those who have never had the experience, but in many areas it is a common occurrence.

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees every citizen equal protection under the law. It states (in Section 1):

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (1868).

All well and good for those who can afford to go to court and prove their rights were violated; however, many people do not have the resources or the time to do this.

Because there is an outcry from the American Civil Liberties Union, and other civil rights organizations, racial profiling may decline. Nonetheless, like many practices that are not codified in law, but are understood, racial profiling may at some future date be resurrected under another name. Every American should be concerned when our rights are chipped away, laws are set aside, and citizens are detained. Until there is some type of referendum and a movement to abolish laws that target some citizens and not others, whether these laws are written or unwritten, we will remain a country stuck in the past.


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willie phillips - 8/17/2003

where are you?

Angela - 6/29/2003

The history behind racial profiling, according to your article, is very unclear. There is no evidence to support your claim or a date for that matter. With further research I believe that you can dig deeper to produce a more supportive topic

armand gordon - 4/24/2003

Iam great full for your insight, I do have one question DO Illegal Alien have cocstitational civil rights, to be able to put a lawsute angainst american citizen? And if they do what are they? please contact me as sone as possible. thankyou.

muhammad abdullah - 1/7/2003

excellent research this needs to be reprinted and distributed like the letter of willie lynch to show the hypocrisy of amerikkka and the institutionalized oppression of people of afrikan descent in amerikkka!!!-muhammad abdullah-p.o.box 338-compton,ca.90223-0338

Steve Brody - 1/1/2003

Not that anyone ask me, but I believe that in general the Constitution does protect citizens and none citizens alike. Some of the questions, however, that seem to be at issue are exceptions to constitutions. Immigration issues, for instance, are usually persued administratively and civilly. That is why illegal or "undocumented" aliens can be rounded up and bussed back to their country of origin without a formal trial and generally are not provided with appointed counsel. The same with other visa issues. In general, illegal aliens are not entitled to appointed counsel because strictly speaking, immigration proceedings are not "criminal" in nature.

In California, where I live, a significant amount of the crime is committed by illegal aliens and they are entitled to all of the same constitutional protections that any citizen recieves during the criminal proceedings. If you read the constitution, you will notice that some of the rights are conditional. They are prefaced by words that condition them to criminal matters or exempt matters arising from war situations. I believe that is why some of the rights enumerated in the constitution do not apply to "enemy combatants" like the terrorists being held at Gitmo. In addition, there are questions, about exactly
when constitutional rights attach. It's not that uncommon in California for subjects who have fled to Mexico to be "kidnapped" in Mexico and literally kicked across the border into the waiting arms of a Federal Agent. The US courts couldn't care less about how the suspect was treated prior to his arrival in the US. I believe that is another reason many of the terrorists are being held "off shore" as it were in Gitmo and Pakistan.

In addition, courts have held that a" buffer zone" around the border exists. There is no warrant requirement for the Customs Service to search you or your belongings or your vehicle when you enter the country. The story about "my friend's nephew Tom" however, sounds suspiciously like an internet legend. The situation described is clearly not legal and undoubtedly would have been well reported in the media. There is much misinformation and hysteria floating around about the "Patriot Act" and "Homeland Security". The "Patriot Act", in reality does not authorize Law Enforcement agencies to do anything with out a warrant that they haven't always been able to do. No searches, no arrests, no siezures, no wire taps no e-mail monitoring with out a warrant signed by a judge. The main difference is that information previously gathered for national security reasons(which always required a warrant and still does) can be used to prosecute terrorists in criminal court. "Homeland security" was mainly a reorganization of some of the Federal Agencies, such as the Secret Service ( formerly in the Treasury Department)and Immigration ( formerly in Justice) into a new Department. No new powers at all.

Jacob Goldfinger - 12/30/2002

The case is Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896):

"And in the case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 369 , 6 Sup. Ct. 1064, it was said: 'The fourteenth amendment to the constitution IS NOT CONFINED TO THE PROTECTION OF CITIZENS. It says: 'Nor shall any state deprive any PERSON of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any PERSON within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.' These provisious are universal in their application to all PERSONS within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or nationality; and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws.' Applying this reasoning to the fifth and sixth amendments, it must be concluded that all PERSONS within the territory of the United States are entitled to the protection guarantied by those amendments, and that EVEN ALIENT shall not be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." (Emphasis added.)

And as to your misguided beliefs about the race of "big time" drug dealers, I speak for all Americans who believe in equal protection of the law when I say, "Thank you, Bill Heuisler, for retiring from the police force."

-Jacob Goldfinger

Anita Wills - 12/30/2002

Bill, you are a little deluded. What planes, boats, and trucks do inner city youth own? You continue to make everyones point. If it is okay for the police to use racial profiling in the inner city; then it is okay for them to knock down a door in the suburbs looking for Cocaine. At least that is the logic you are using. Who is flying in the drugs from Columbia, and other regions in the world?

You have to be the most ill informed poster on this board. Your rationale is lacking in any facts, and seems to come off the top of your head. You remind me of Trent Lott, and his statements about segregation, and Strom Thurmond. You are about as off the beam as he was. Hopefully, your beliefs are part of a mindset in America that is quickly fading.

Bill Heuisler - 12/30/2002

While not questioning your veracity, your post seems open to interpretation. You said you showed a minority cop "printed copies" of my posts. My posts repeatedly affirm Law enforcement experience. His response "This guy is making claims about my profession..." seems odd in that context.
What am I missing here?

Bill Heuisler - 12/30/2002

Get your facts straight, you're beginning to appear foolish.
The case you tried to cite is WONG KIM ARK vs UNITED STATES. He was born in the United States in 1873 which makes him a U.S. citizen, not an immigrant. The dispute was when he visited China for an extended period and tried to return. The court upheld his status as a citizen. The case refutes your contention. Citizens have a full range of Rights, immigrants do not.

As to your Capital Crime nonsense, how many of the Guantanamo prisoners are going to get the benefit of a Grand Jury? Explain why lawyers for Reid and Walker are begging for Grand Juries. Sounds like the Fifth Amendment is only for citizens - and only certain citizens - doesn't it?

White dealers? One more time; this factual stuff is tough.
Police do not bust every drug deal among your little friends in the playground or at the nearest frat house. Do you remember your original contention? You said so-called "Racial Profiling" is proven by the unequal arrests of minorities for drug sales. Most dealers police arrest are minorities because they deal in quantities worth prosecuting not because police are racists.

All this must be so difficult for you to grasp. Concepts, case law, facts...all so darned confusing, aren't they?
Condolences, Bill Heuisler

Jacob Goldfinger - 12/30/2002

The Constitution protects the rights of persons, not only citizens. Throughout the document, protections are applied to "persons" or "people". Really, you should read it sometime.

Fourth Amendment (search and seizure): "The right of the PEOPLE to be secure..."

Fifth Amendment (due process): "No PERSON shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury...nor shall any PERSON be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..."

Sixth Amendment (rights of the accused): "In all criminal prosecutions, the ACCUSED shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial..."

You get the idea. With a few exceptions (i.e., voting), rights are extended to ALL persons within U.S. jurisdiction, and always have been.

Don't take my word for it. Read any Supreme Court decision on whether the Constitution is applicable to non-citizens. You can start with Wong Wing v. United States (1896), striking down the "Chinese Immigration Act" as an unlawful deprivation of immigrants' constitutional rights.

While you're at it, give a call to the public information bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services; turns out that 77% of all illicit drug users in the United States are white! Then you can call the Office of National Drug Control Policy and ask for the most recent report on the drug buying habits of Americans. Seems that most users buy their drugs through acquaintances of the same race.

After you've done that, I look forward to reading your apology for your uninformed rants and personal attacks.

-Jacob Goldfinger

Bill Heuisler - 12/30/2002

1) Lecture? First mention of the Constitution was not mine.
2) You are wrong. If our Constitution protected everyone, why do we need Customs, immigration etc. Why the much-argued difference between trials and jurisdiction for non-citizen-terrorists and terrorists who are citizens. Cite the Supreme decision that gives non-citizens all the Rights in our Bill of Rights.
3) Goldfinger said "dealers", Derek. It's a no-brainer that most users are white in a white country. I'm surprised you missed the obvious point of contention involving arrests of dealers based on racial descrimination. Before you sand-bag me at the end of the stream it would be a good idea to read the damn stream.
4) I'm an ex-cop, Derek. The term "Racial profiling" is BS because harassing blacks is a waste of time when you are trying to clear cases. Any black cop who believes suspect profiling in criminal investigations is wrong can't have understood the question.
Bill Heuisler

Anita Wills - 12/30/2002

William, I know you were not disagreeing with me. I was making some points to you, and some to the general board (sorry). You are so right, it is not just about minorities, and that is my point. I have spoken to young white kids living in the suburbs who are profiled by the police. If they are standing around talking on a Saturday night, the police roust them.

Every American should be offended by the attacks on liberty. Instead some will take the stance that it is fine as long as it happens to the "Other". When I mentioned being pulled over it was not to show myself as a victim. The reason I am not a victim is that I know the law, and knew the procedure I was going to take. Many young people, and inner city youth do not know the law, and actually believe they have no rights. I learned about the constitution in my home when I was a child. My father, made a game of us pronouncing the Emancipation Proclamation. At the time I just wanted to memorize it before my brother, and did not realize the importance of that document.

Well I am going off on a tangent again. William, I agree with your message, and want you to know that I know Racial Profiling, is not about race. It is sad became many groups came here from Communist Countries, seeking freedom. They were told their rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet, the same government chips away at these rights, in order to stay in power.

William H. Leckie, Jr. - 12/30/2002

Anita, I was not disagreeing with you, and in fact I was attempting to make a historical discussion a bit more complex. Racial profiling is real, it is also highly selective, and old patterns of geography, sex, and class--and the assumptions that accompany and shaped them--are still very much with us. As the white driver of a battered VW Bug carrying black and white passengers in Mississippi, I too have been pulled over (though long ago) and was knocked upside the head and told to get my ass out of the county or my passengers and I would be face down in a ditch. "Skin privilege" got me absolutely nowhere. I more than share your concern about post-9/11 threats to civil liberty--I regard the current administration as motivated by totalitarian impulses not sufficiently analyzed or understood--do not need to be reminded of them, can remember a time when we could not have shared drinking fountains, and got whacked pretty hard while trying to make a modest contribution to changing to all that.

But we also need to be reminded that in crowded cities before World War Two and earlier, the cops regularly "profiled" and thumped white poor youth as well. Do not fall into the "split labor market" legacy of racial and ethnic exceptionalism in this country's past.

Oh--get rid of that SUV! It pollutes the air, guzzles gas, and threatens the highway safety of us all. But more to the point, it was deliberately marketed to the very types who care little for the rights of others. Get a Tercel, and join me the next election going door-to-door to get out the vote in neighborhoods where people have lost faith in their ballot. Anyway, get out of the SUV and actually pound the pavement to fight.

I must say, finally, that the extent--not whether, but again, the extent--to which colonial laws influenced those passed (and selectively enforced) after 1820 is a legitimate question, not one to be dismissed by a presentism masked as history.

Anita Wills - 12/29/2002

William, The certificates of Registry that I have date as far back as 1815, and come from Fredericksburg Virginia. One states that, "In pursuance of an Act of Assembly, entitled, "An Act for regulating the Police of Towns in this Commonwealth, and to restrin the Practice of Negroes going at large. That tells me that this was an act aimed at a specific group of people.

Not because Negores were committing more crimes, but because it was not politically correct. Blacks were supposed to be slaves, working on plantations, not walking around Free. Colonial America was setting up a class system based on race, and Free Africans did not fit into it. That is why the same crime committed by a black, or white person received different results. It is no different today, and statistics back me up.

Please ask yourself how the law dealt with whites who committed crimes during the Colonial period. Were they run out of the State, or sold into slavery? My point is that the laws of today, are based on Colonial laws, but are not on the books. It is understood that harassing, and detaining certain citizens, is acceptable. Not just African Americans, but Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (whose arrests, and detainments are seldom reported), at one point Asian Americans, and now Arab Americans. The first step is to make contact, because the assumption is they have done something. Once contact is made, then the search, and detainment. I am not saying that every Person of Color the Police make contact with is detained, but a significant amount are.

I was pulled over because one of the 6 lights I have on my SUV was out. The police who pulled me over were Park Police, and I was out side of the Park. I wondered why they bothered pulling me over for such a minor violation. My conclusion was they wanted to see who the young males were in my car. I had my grandson (a tall 10 year Old), and a twelve, and fourteen year old in my vehicle. I filed a complaint against these two policemen, and spoke to their superior officer, who apologized to me. The officers were given reprimands for stopping me, which means they had no right to make contact with me.

I know that there are people who have not been subjected to this treatment. The problem is they are widening the net, and more persons are now subjected to this treatment. We are not just American Citizen, we are human beings. Why does Bush try to differentiate between treatment of American Citizens, and non-Citizens. We are all Human Beings, and should expect humane treatment under all circumstances, especially in America. We set the standard for the world, not vice versa. Information on the backgrounds of the terrorist from 9/11 was not found through Racial Profiling. But by our intelligence community, and all of Law Enforcement working together.

William H. Leckie, Jr. - 12/29/2002

Sorry for a late comment, but I was out of town for the holidays, and returned intrigued.

Back in 1967 I became intrigued by free black status in both northern and southern cities in the 1850s. For the record, most slave state and local codes regulating free persons of color--the formal term at the time, in its way now resurrected--were based on Virginia and Carolina statutes. My problem--for the city of St. Louis--was to determine how they were enforced.

It turned out that there was a very large range of evidence, including police lists, free Negro bonds, regular newspaper police columns, letters, diaries--just for openers--to reconstruct a fairly consistent pattern.

Most of the city's free blacks were unlicensed and a majority unlicensed were female; licensing peaked at periods of sectional crisis, with a big spike in April 1861, when a proslavery legislature enabled a metropolitan police reform commission dominated by "secesh" appointees cracked down.

Unlicensed resident males seem to have been pretty much left alone, and there was it seems considerable socializing between the city's blacks and its pre-reform, un-uniformed "stars," a cause of much hand-wringing by the leading proslavery journal.

Those arrested, jailed for the required 10 days, and then "lashed out" of town were rather easily categorized into two groups: local repeat offenders who for various reasons drew police atention and guys just passing through as riverboat hands.

I'll dig out the old essay if anyone wants hard numbers, that is, if after 35 years I can find it! Clearly, there was a form of "profiling" and "qualifying" for enforcement. As to the character of the regime, what shaped and sustained it, I'll leave that for later!

Derek Catsam - 12/29/2002

Bill -- You're largely wrong on this one. First, the Constitution does in fact protect noncitizens. For someone who lectures everyone else on the list about the Constitution (as you did on this one where you are not right) you should know better. Second, the "ask one" black officer line, while seemingly rhetorically effective, falls apart once someone "asks one" and finds that they disagree with you, as many do. I "asked one" earlier today, showed him printed copies of your posts. He simply laughed, and said "this guy is making claims about my proifession he knows nothing about. I'm assuming he's white?" Finally, more whiotes do use drugs, and get convicted of doing so, than blacks by a factor of three to one. There are several sources for this, not least of which being the Uniform Crime Statistics.

darell broce - 12/29/2002


Anita Wills - 12/28/2002

In regards to messages to the misguided: Please do not refer to yourself in the third person.

Bill Heuisler - 12/28/2002

The sources of my not-so-esoteric knowledge are statistics from cited sources, specific articles, sections of public documents and the personal experience of many years in Law Enforcement.
To cite the Constitution as source for explicit Legal Rights without specificity is like citing the Bible as source for a particular prophecy.
To cite the voluminous records of the United States Justice System to show how most drug dealers are white is like citing the phone book to identify a person with brown eyes.
Mr. Goldfinger mentions "studies", but fails to provide them.
You mention "Racial Profiling Laws" without identifying them.
Goldfinger mistakes Human Rights for Legal or Political Rights and treats Sovereignty and Citizenship with naive contempt.
You act as though men and women in Law Enforcement were engaged in a conspiracy to harass blacks.
Once more:
1) Racial Profiling is a misnomer; you mean racial harassment or discrimination. Investigations must profile or fail. Trying to connect legitimate police investigative tools with the history of American slavery is simply foolish and destructive.
2) Police no longer bother with school-yard marijuana sales, Mr. Goldfinger, they concentrate on weight and organization. That usually means gram-dealers of heroin and cocaine or kilo-dealers of weed. Kilo-plus dealers and gram-dealers and above are nearly always members of minority groups because that is where the supply and the trust reside.
Some "ill-informed" suggestions for the future:
Jacob, cite exact sources while debating or risk seeming callow.
Anita, argue the issues rather than trying to define words to suit a political agenda.
Happy New Year, Bill Heuisler

Anita Wills - 12/27/2002

Bill..., you are so misguided, and ill informed. Yet, you seem to have a command of some sort of knowledge. Although the article is about racial profiling, the issues of race you continue to interject, are off the mark. You actually show how limited your scope is on American History, and the formation of our Government. You are pointing one finger at Jacob, and four are pointing BACK at you.

C.S. Everett - 12/27/2002

Ms. Wills,

You say that it is “asinine” for me “to suggest that the Washingtons, and Jeffersons allowed anyone to come into their homes, and take their children to a court.” I did not suggest this at all. Also, the colonial period did end with the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. The colonial period does not extend to the Civil War. Free Negro Registries also exist before 1808—I have read several that date back to 1794, which is still post-Revolutionary, and so not “colonial.”

But, of course, I agree that nobody was going door to door and taking children to court. I did not indicate that at all. And no, the children of wealthy planters were not “roused from their beds, and taken to court.” Unless, for some odd reason, they were servants, and I am certain most were not. However, you misunderstand not only what I was trying to get across, but the historical facts. The reason Augustine Washington brought Mary Bowden into court was precisely because she was a servant, and Washington was following the law. That Mary was seven years old in fact supports my contention. Children were brought in and their ages were accessed by county courts for taxation and to determine at what point in time the child would no longer be required to serve his or her master or mistress. Slave and servant owners brought in these children, and some servants were white. But the taxes were not accessed on owners at the court. Their names and the names and ages of the servants were entered into the record, and the tithe collectors referred to this record when they did go out to collect the taxes.

You state that “a white child would not have served an indenture longer than seven years.” In fact, some white servant children were bastards, or came from poor families, and according to both the legal and moral interpretation of the day, they were bound out and apprenticed, some serving to eighteen and twenty years of age. Still, there is a racial component to all of this as Negro, mulatto, and Indian children were bound out and apprenticed or required to serve their masters until the age (depending on what decade and sex we’re talking about, as the law did in fact vary) of twenty-four or thirty-one. Still, just as black and mulatto children could be bound out or apprenticed, so to could white children. Servitude was not limited to race. Only the duration of servitude was dependant upon race. Even so, I know of at least one case, and possibly two cases, in colonial Virginia—not Antebellum Virginia, which you incorrectly call “colonial”—of presumably white English children being sold as slaves.

I fully comprehend the thrust of your initial argument. You say that your article “is not about when the Colonial period began or ended, it is about racial profiling. Using the Free Negro Registry (which was enacted in 1808 in Virginia), was one means of racial profiling. You are wrong, on so many levels, and I will point out several areas.” Ms. Willis, if you are going to use history to buttress the point or points you are making on modern contemporary issues, at least be sure to first check your facts. The facts are important. When you get the history right, then your argument is more forceful. Weak history makes for a weak argument. And my statements and interpretations are not “asinine” as you suggest. Rather, as you say you do, I look at the original documents. These tell the stories and provide the facts. I know that white servant children were brought into county courts for the same reasons that Negro, mulatto, and Indian children servants and slaves were brought in as far back as 1682. This is not an archaic form of racial profiling, but the system that was used by colonial administrations to manage local taxation and labor. It was about taxes, and it was also about race, as indicated by the differentiation between terms of servitude for whites and non-whites. Also, it is rare to see white children adjudged “mulatto” or “Indian” and called a slave, as is so common with non-whites.

So, on what “levels”—and you said there were “so many”—am I wrong?

Anita Wills - 12/27/2002

It is interesting that some posters are using the statistics of crime today to justify Racial Profiling. I suggest to you that crime statistics make my point against racial profiling. In the first place (as Jacob Goldfinger pointed out), it is Unconstitutional. There is no law on the books that allows one group to be singled out for harrassment by law enforcement. That is why several states are now keeping racial data. If these states are singling out certain groups, they can lose funding, and face law suits. Most Americans take the Constitution seriously, since that is the only document that separates us from countries that are little more than Dictatorships.

We could actually change the name, and call it Ethnic Profiling these days, since those profiled are Middle Easterners. What does a Middle Easterner look like? I have seen Native Americans, Hispanics, Italians, Jewish, Greeks, and African Americans who can fit into that category. Back in Colonial days, Eyeballing someone was a common way of identifying their racial group. In the Free Negro Registry folks are identified as Light Mulatto, Dark Mulatto, having a big nose, or straight hair. Whether they had a mark on their shoulder (the brand of the slave owner), and their height, and weight. It was like our State ID's, and Drivers Licenses (which I have no problem carrying).

What happened in the Racial Profiling case of Diallo? The cops thought the man was armed, and used deadly force. What registered in their minds? The first identification was that he was a male black. From that point on they used the negative profile of male blacks, and the most extreme method to subdue him. The statistics were so clear in their mind, that they believed they would find something to justify shooting him. Yet, there was no police record, nothing to support his execution. He was just a West African male coming home from his job late at night.

As a teenager during the sixties, I know that Profiling is a tool used against many groups. Whether it was the hippies, the Weather Underground, or the Black Panthers. If it is used as a means of identifying a group, and not as a tool of Law Enforcement it could probably be beneficial. The generations to come want to know about the movements in the sixties, and who the players were. I have no arguement with that aspect of profiling, as long as it does not enfringe on our Constitutional Rights.

Jacob Goldfinger - 12/27/2002

As you should know, the Constitution protects the rights of all PERSONS within U.S. jurisdiction; freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, the right to trial by jury, equal protection of the laws, etc. Read it sometime.

In addition, if you look up the information you lack with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and HHS for that matter, you'll find that most drug users are white. And while you're at it, you might be surprised to find what the National Association of Chiefs of Police have to say about racial profiling (hint: they don't agree with you). It is not for others to do this homework for you, but your comments would be far more useful if you had the slightest clue what you were talking about.

And you accuse me of "haughty dislike" of America? I know what our Constitution represents, and I consider it important. I don't need to tell you what you can do with yourself.

Bill Heuisler - 12/27/2002

Mr. Goldfinger,
To witness your ideological enterprises you cite The U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Your massive erudition is obviously impregnable and avoids the need to be factually precise. There's a downside to macro, however, Some of the less-gullible readers of HNN might think you have no facts, but merely hold poorly developed opinions.
On the other hand, illegitimate scholars and non-sentient beings cannot gobble whole volumes and acres of text at one rumination; we must rely on more specific evidence to form humble opinions.
Rather than the Whole-Earth approach to learning, we lesser-beings struggle with single sentences and individual statistics.
Applying our country's Constitution to the peoples of the Whole World who happen to be physically present is logical only if you deny substance and purpose to our immigration laws, our customs regulations and Artical IV sec. 2 of our Constitution - not to mention the Preamble: "We the people of the United States".
As to the original application of the term, "Racial profiling",
American police are apparently undeserving of a charitable interpretation, but the "wretched refuse" and all non-white criminals get the benefit of your estimable doubt.
Such haughty dislike for this country must give you gas.
Bill Heuisler

Jacob Goldfinger - 12/27/2002

Constitutional rights (except for the right to vote) apply to all PERSONS within the jurisdiction of the United States, regardless of citizenship status. Check your Constitution.

Jacob Goldfinger - 12/27/2002

Cite one study? Sure...consult the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

I know the information you find won't fit your prejudice, that's why studies showing that most drug users - and dealers are white - are, to your mind, "nonsense."

Fortunately, legitimate scholars and most other sentient beings rely on empirical evidence in forming their opinions on a given topic. The fact the you choose to disregard empirical evidence says everything anyone needs to know about your views on this topic.

Sorry, but if you won't even address the facts, it is pointless to attempt any discussion with you.

Have a nice day.

-Jacob Goldfinger

Bill Heuisler - 12/26/2002

Mr. Goldfinger,
Reading your post makes one thing very clear: you don't know very much about law enforcement or drug trafficking.
You wrote:
"Since roughly 3 out of 4 drug users are white, and since studies of drug users indicate that users generally purchase illicit drugs from people of the same race, it follows that there are many white drug dealers."
This is pure guesswork. The "studies" are nonsense. Cite one.
Now reality:
In the early 70s Bonanno, Patriarca, Gambino etc. relinquished the broken Sicilian/French pipeline to men like Hector Mar Wong, a Chinese-born heroin wholesaler from Culiacan, Mexico and Demetri Alonzo, a Bogota, Columbia cocaine distributor for the cartel). In New York, LA, Phoenix and Philly quantity buys are from minorities because they (Jamaicans, Columbians, Mexicans etc.) control raw product imported from places like Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Columbia where they are connected. Busts for small "for use" quantities hardly happen any more because they are a waste of manpower. Cops bust street dealers to turn them. But where are they busted, Mr. Goldfinger? Not on Park Avenue. Who are they, Mr. Goldfinger? You don't have a clue, do you? Have you ever talked to a cop? Do Black and Hispanic police officers participate in your bad-police-work/racial harassment?

Before you presume to lecture on Law Enforcement, check the basics. Go to your nearest PD, walk up to the first minority cop and ask about racial profiling. After he laughs at you, ask a white cop to take off his uniform cap and show you his horns.
Your ideological slip is showing, Goldfinger.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/26/2002

Ms. Lobes,
Supportive of the Right Wing?" Who really talks like that?
"Your friend's "formerly trusting", "right-wing"-supportive nephew has created a deft tissue of exaggeration and falsehood, as young men and women often do when caught sowing wild oats.

Many years in Law and Law Enforcement have made me sceptical. Federal Marshals don't have jurisdiction on State/local roads. If they want traffic stopped, they must ask the state, county or city officers to make the stops. Also, this kind of roadblock usually attracts avid press attention. Did it? No...? Why not?
Check with your disillusioned young man. You'll probably find he was stopped and searched at the Canadian Border.

You say: "all sorts of people are now being stopped and threatened with jail if they don't have identification and COOPERATE." Right. But not American citizens. Remember, most of the 19 highjackers on 9/11 entered across the Canadian border. We all should hope our "open borders" policies have ended.

Ms. Lobes, illegal immigrants are not American Citizens. Try to focus a moment: These people are illegally in our country. These people have no Constitutional Rights, or right to public trial, or any other "Right" in this country. They are citizens of another country and their rights reside in that country. If you are ever arrested in Mexico, France or Morocco, for instance, don't expect to be protected by their laws; you'll be deported or prosecuted by their laws, but won't receive any protections accorded their citizens. That's the way it is in the real world.
You need to travel a bit. Try Mexico, Canada, Japan, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, France etc.. In each of these countries - and in nearly every country in the world - your papers and belongings are subject to examination without warrant or judicial review.
Only in the U.S. do we have the protections of a Bill of Rights. Your fears of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act are wildly overblown. Call your US Attorney's office, get copies and read the damn things. Wordy? Yes. Fascist? Not hardly.

Instead of railing at imaginary enemies you should get down on your knees and thank God every day for being here in the U.S. among the most independent, liberated, emancipated, self-governing people in the world.
Bill Heuisler

Jacob Goldfinger - 12/26/2002

Racial profiling is common, and it is simply bad policing resulting from long-held prejudices.

The examples cited initially involved traffic stops that disproportionately targeted African American and Latino males on the pretext of cracking down on drug trafficking. Police officers were not looking for suspects in any SPECIFIC crime, just potential drug traffickers. The problem is that there is a strong correlation between looking for something and finding it.

Since roughly 3 out of 4 drug users are white, and since studies of drug users indicate that users generally purchase illicit drugs from people of the same race, it follows that there are many white drug dealers. Furthermore, no racial group has a greater propensity for drug use than any other. So on what basis do police target minorities in a purported anti-drug campaign? If police officers targeted the racial group of the majority of drug users and dealers - white people - more arrests would result. Of course, so would outrage over the invidious practice of racial profiling.

I won't call drug crimes "victimless," but the problem is that there are no complaining witnesses. Police have great discretion in investigating crimes that feature no complaining witnesses, which is why it is extremely important for officers not to rely on prejudices when they choose their suspects. What results is a disproportionate percentage of minority drug criminals, not because they are any more likely than white people to commit drug crimes, but because police choose not to look at whites as potential criminals.

Anita Wills - 12/26/2002

Diane, that is the point I am attempting to drive home. The laws that affect certain groups, will sooner, or later affect everyone. We are allowing the government to erode our freedoms, in the belief that they are targeting Middle Easterners. In reality racial profiling is a gateway to laws that will strip away our 14th Amendment Rights.

Darell Broce - 12/26/2002

The String on this String is messed up.
My "BullS..T" comment refers to Lobes story that starts out " my friends nephew Tom..."
Every urban legend starts " my friends nephew Tom..." or someother fourth hand source. My challenge stands : name one mainstream media source for this.

darell broce - 12/26/2002

My last post is in reference to Lobes post.

Darell Broce - 12/26/2002

This is bull s..t. If this had actually happened this would have been reported in every mainstream newspaper in the country.

Name one major media source that can confirm that this actually happened. Just one.

Dianne Lobes - 12/26/2002

I'm afraid not only don't you have the facts, Bill - all sorts of people are now being stopped and threatened with jail if they don't have identification and COOPERATE. You're very protected (or in denial) from what has been happening to millions of people of color and vulnerability all over this country every day for decades. This "protection"/denial, fueled and allowed by the daily racial profiling that is entrenched in this country, is cracking, however, due to the u.s.a. p.a.t.r.i.o.t. act and the so-called "Homeland Security" act.
Over Thanksgiving, a friend's nephew, Tom, was stopped at a random roadblock set up by federal marshals in Washington state –not to detain speeders or drunk/drugged drivers, but to search people's cars for no stated purpose. Ten cars were pulled over in the action.
As he was searched, Tom asked the officer, "What's this all about?" The officer replied in a very threatening tone, "We'll ask the questions. Now open your trunk." Tom responded, "But what if I don't want to be searched?"
The officer replied, "Then you go to jail."
Tom knew something wasn't right. He asked, "Don't you need a search warrant or something? Is it legal for you to just flag a car down and tell the driver that he's going to be searched, and that if he refuses he'll go to jail?"
The officer replied, "Under Homeland Security, no search warrant is necessary."
Tom opened his trunk, emptied his pockets and was forced to participate in a process that was illegal in the United States just 15 months ago, but not any more - a warrantless search in a country that previously protected its people from warrantless searches.
Of course, the marshals found nothing. After a very long delay, the officers finally waved him through the roadblock.
Instead of feeling relieved after being released, Tom felt less safe and secure in the land of the formerly free and the home of the now all–powerful law enforcement/intelligence complex. Tom, formerly trusting of his government and supportive of the right wing, is now questioning everything he thought he knew as a young, white, American male.
He's experiencing for the first time the abuses of power that have been the common experience of immigrants and people of color for hundreds of years. If the UPA (u.s.a. p.a.t.r.i.o.t. act) and Homeland Security become entrenched, people like Tom will experience even more of this suddenly common fare – such as midnight raids on their homes, and friends and relatives disappearing into government vehicles, not to be heard from for weeks or months. In Springfield, OR, in 1997, a huge INS raid terrified residents of the Latino community. After 9/11, families of Middle-Eastern and South-Asian men lost contact with their husbands, uncles and brothers for weeks and months. No public trials were allowed. Constitutional guarantees were rescinded. They were held under INS law, instead of criminal law, which allowed the government to conduct this in-your-face revocation of the Constitutional rights we all learned about in first grade.

Darell Broce - 12/26/2002

I'm not flaming you because you "made the leap". I'm not flaming you at all. I'm saying that making a lot of conclusory statements about your opinions of racial profiling by law enforcement does not a case make.

Anita Wills - 12/26/2002

Please tell me which part of my statements are erroneous, and why. I made a connection between Colonial Virginias race based laws, and the racial profiling laws of today. I am not stating that you should, or can make that leap. However, do not flame me because I made the leap. I am sure you can make the leap when it comes to Washington, and Jefferson. They were the architects of America, the fathers of our country. When it comes to making a leap about the laws they authored which formed the foundation of this country, you have a problem.

In other words, you just do not get it. That is why I wrote the article..., many Americans do not get it.

Anita Wills - 12/26/2002

With all due respect the Free Negro Registry was used prior to the Civil War. I suspect you are suggesting that the Colonial period ended after the Revolutionary War. I contend that the Colonial period did not end until after the Civil War. This article is not about when the Colonial period began or ended, it is about racial profiling. Using the Free Negro Registry (which was enacted in 1808 in Virginia), was one means of racial profiling. You are wrong, on so many levels, and I will point out several areas.

The Mulatto Mary Bowden was not brought in for taxation, but you would not know that since you do not have the court document (I do). She was adjudged to be a mulatto of seven years old. The law she was sentenced under was passed by the Virginia Legislature, and was aimed at mixed raced, or mulatto children. The statements I made in my article are backed up by documents. All children were not taken into court, for taxation purposes. The children of wealthy planters were not roused from their beds, and taken to court. Mary Bowdens parents did not take her to court, Augustine Washington Senior, took her to court. Upon the birth of Mary's daughter, Patty, Augustine Washington Junior took her to court, and she was adjudged to be free, and Mulatto as well. Patty Bowden was also sentenced to a thirty year Indenture (I call it sentencing, since a white child would not have served an indenture longer than seven years). It was not about taxes, it was about race, and free labor, thirty years of free labor.

The church Parishes often handled the tithing (taxing) of parishes in their district. After the Revolutionary War, census takers would go door to door, and take tax polls. It is asinine for you to suggest that the Washingtons, and Jeffersons allowed anyone to come into their homes, and take their children to a court. You, and I both know that these harsh laws were not applied to the Wealthy Plantation owners.

C.S. Everett - 12/26/2002

Ms. Wills, with all due respect, your facts and characterization are incorrect. Free Negroe Registries were a product of the post-revolutionary U.S., not the colonial period.

And, yes, while to some degree these registries can be viewed as an early form of racial profiling, their intent was to monitor and track all "free coloreds" during an era when slave owners feared collusion between free coloreds and slaves. Some "free Negro" registry entries include remarks about "generally good dispositions," and "letters" from white citizens and county clerks about an individual's good reputation. So, not all persons entered in the registries were there under suspicion of future wrong-doing.

The registries also contain entries for mulatoes, not Negroes, as the two categories were still somewhat distinct at the time (say late 1790s through the 1830s). Indians, too, are included, though they were not Negroes.

The mulatto Bowdens of the Washington family were not brought into court and "sentenced" to thirty year indentures because of some type of racial profiling. All servants and slaves were adjudged by the courts for purposes of taxation. Young children were brought in to determine their age, so the owner could be properly assessed for taxes when the servant or slave came of taxable age. The duration of the term of servitude was accordingly fixed, and that was generally no more than thirty-one years for colored women. Once servants had reached the end of their terms, they could in fact sue their owners or masters if they were not immediately freed or provided with the clothes and food required by law. So, even mixed-race people had some "rights" (even though that term was probably never used before the last quarter of the eighteenth century).

I am not necessarily disagreeing with your point of view, but rather witrh the reporting of some of the facts.

Darell Broce - 12/26/2002

What case? You really haven't made a case. You've made a lot of charges, You've made a lot of statements of facts which are really just your opinions, but you really haven't made a case.

You really can't generalize your personal experiences from the 60's and then expect people to draw the same conclusions that you have.

You make a lot of broad sweeping generalizations about the criminal justice system in this country. That's fine, you have a right to your opinion. But it is just your opinion. And people who disagree with you may not be racist, and may, in fact, be more knowledgeable than you.

I know that your father was a constable, but many of your statements about current law enforcement practices are erroneous.

Anita Wills - 12/26/2002

The negligence of our politicians is the reason that our children are not safe from predators, and murders. The police do what they are told to do by their superiors. If their superiors tell them that protecting our children is a priority, the police will protect our children. Here in California we have children being preyed upon by Child molesters, and murderers. Yet, only a few cases ever make the headlines, or even get solved. If there was a threat to Corporations as great as the ones to our children, the National Guard would be called out. Instead, they have more police handing out traffic tickets, than protecting innocent citizens.

I agree with your statement because it happens here as well.

Tom Kellum - 12/24/2002

Police use a creative form of profiling in a rich incorporated village near where I live.

There, a motorcycle officer often parks his bike in the street at an intersection, on weekdays between the hours of about 4 PM and 6:30 PM.

He literally stands in the street facing northbound traffic. There, he can easily spot cars with expired registration or safety inspection stickers.

A lot of low-wage workers (many of whom are illegal immigrants) travel this particular street to get home.

This cop probably gets some kind of bonus for the amount of money he raises for the small municipality he is employed by. At least, it wouldn't surprise me.

One of his tactics is to stop people about a quarter of a mile north of his location, whereupon he can claim that they ran a red light. Although it's nearly impossible that he could determine whether or not anyone has run a red light from his location - so far away from it - the people he stops are in no position to argue (fear of INS). So, they get tickets for expired stickers, and one for running a red light (and/or whatever else that might be "appropriate").

Very, very few of the offenders he tickets ever contest them. They pay up.

This is a reprehensible form of profiling, but I'm sure that it is not unique to Hedwig Village, Texas (Houston).

How do I know he does this? Personal experience in my 1986 Saab.
Old vehicle, expired stickers, and a cop who committed felony perjury at trial by claiming he was a quarter of a mile north of his actual location...and that's how he "knew" the light was red when I crossed the intersection.

Police use all kinds of profiling techniques. Always have, and always will. They are just as weak as the rest of us, and subject to the laws of human nature that cause people to be lazy and act dishonorably when it's "necessary" to achieve a goal.

Anita Wills - 12/24/2002

I notice that you have a comfort zone of recent events. Is that because you are afraid to look at events in a historical context? Is it difficult for you to make the leap, and understand the foundation of our legal system? The Freeway Snipers, Timothy McVey, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and whoever else you throw out are irrelevant. Except for the Freeway Snipers (who are innocent until proven guilty), these men committed crimes. None of those convicted fit an exact profile. In Timothy McVeys case Law Enforcement was looking for someone of Middle Eastern Descent. The others were caught because of a blunder they made.

When the serial killers like Ted Bundy and Ted Bundy were operating, no one was pulling over white males, and questioning them. Would it have made sense for Law Enforcement to pull over White Males? Not in my book, but according to your arguement it would have. That is, unless you are arguing that only Blacks and Hispanics rights should be ignored.

I would venture to guess that you have no problem connecting the achievements of Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. You can wrap your mind around these two, Architects of modern America. Yet, you cannot grasp the fact that the foundation of liberty so prized by many, also contains inequities.

In your vain attempt to dehumanize Inner City Youth, you ignore the fact that American Youth in general or troubled. Why else would so many suburban white youth take guns to school, and shoot teachers, and classmates? Why would two young boys be pushed to participating in the murder of their father? Inner City blacks, and hispanics are not the only ones in need of help.

Bill Heuisler - 12/24/2002

Ms. Wills,
The statistics on violent crime and young black males speak for themselves. Black men killing other black men is an epidemic and uninformed people want police to look the other way while blacks kill and die. The buzz-words "racial profiling" are a foolish and dangerous backlash against a small minority of police who harass blacks. This backlash has gotten people killed in places like Maryland and Atlanta for over twenty years.

Maryland - the Beltway Sniper killings: Several witnesses at the Virginia Home Depot shooting described "dark-skinned" suspects, but police continued targeting "white-guys with guns" and ATF's Mike Bouchard boasted of confiscating a number of rifles from white men in Maryland. Meanwhile people - a black school boy was one - were dying. They were dying because of racial backlash, not racial profiling.

Racial backlash? Ask Chief Moose - a black man. According to incident reports and recorded transmissions, Mohammed and Malvo were stopped at least three times during the sniper search in the tri-state area. Montgomery County Police Chief, Charles Moose, an outspoken critic of "racial profiling" refused to release a composite sketch or even a demographic profile of the sniper suspect. He explained he didn't want to, "paint some group". But from the start of the investigation, Moose targeted whites, citing phone tips from girlfriends, wives and neighbors upset with white guys with guns. Meanwhile people were dying.

Atlanta - 1979 to 1981: Black boys were being murdered and the police refused to even consider black suspects even though most murder investigations begin with "opportunity" (neighbors or family). More than two years passed - many deaths - before a witness saw a black man dumping a body. Racial backlash killed a dozen or so black boys in Atlanta. Did we learn? No.
The Atlanta and DC "profiles" were simply racial backlash.

Absolutely, we should target white male loners when looking for child predators. But before Liberals voided Vagrancy Laws, police routinely checked transients for records and kept an eye on them. Now vagrants are called homeless. Hundreds of children have died. And who has the advocacy groups, children or bums?
Lastly, not all serial killers are white. Eric Hickey, criminal-psychology professor at Cal State Fresno says blacks account for about 12% of the US population and 22% of serial killers.
Don't you see, Ms. Wills, the last thing a murder investigation needs is a racial guideline...negative or positive.
Happy Holidays, Bill Heuisler

Anita Wills - 12/24/2002

Your experience is quite different from my own. I do not know where you live, so I will not state that you are mistaken. I was raised in a small city in Pennsylvania, during the 60's, and police sweeps in my neighborhood was not uncommon. Your assumption that there is a lot of crime in black neighborhoods tells me you watch too much news. Most of the African Americans I knew were too tired from working to committ crimes.

I am fortunate in that I have white friends, who actually point out the descrepencies in the system. It is not just African Americans, and Hispanic Americans complaining. Most educated whites understand that any unjust visited on any American, is an unjust visited on all Americans. It is a historical fact that certain groups were targeted, and their rights ignored. I went back to the 18th century, and could have gone back to the 17th century. My point was that these injustices were ingrained in our system from this country's inception.

The justice system is no longer all white, there are many races within it, however it is still an expensive justice system. The weak in our system are targeted, and racial profiling is one way they are targeted. Racial Profiling is one example of how groups who are seen as powerless are set upon by the justice system. Once they are in the net, then any rights they have are ignored. They are presumed guilty until they can prove their innocence. There are others who are presumed innocent, until the system can prove them guilty. Today, justice is an issue of economics, and those without resources are the ones caught in the system.

As far as racial profiling, blacks and hispanics are stopped, because they are assumed to be criminals. Is it your contention that profiling young blacks, and hispanics is going to slow down drug traffic? What Urban youth has access to planes, trucks, or boats? What urban dweller is traveling to Columbia to pick up Cocaine? Since you are so interested in profiling, then profile the drug kingpins. Profile the gun dealers who are supplying weapons to these inner city youths. In case you have not heard, word on the street is that we are losing the war on drugs.

If you support racial profiling please help the next mother whose child is kidnapped, and murdered by a predator. I live in California, and several children have been kidnapped, raped, and murdered in my state. By and large these predators were white males, would you agree that we begin stopping white males who fit the profile? That is a sure sign that Racial Profiling is not working.

You stated that stopping every black male would have helped catch John Muhammed sooner, and you are wrong. The profilers were wrong because they made an assumption it would be a white male. You are actually making my point. Profiles come from looking at similar crimes in the past. There is no way they would have stopped John Muhammed. People called in tips, and the suspects made mistakes that is how they were caught.

I rest my case.

Anita Wills - 12/24/2002

You are making a case for racial profiling in the Inner City. Racial Profiling is not only used in the Inner City, but all over America. My article connected the historical context of racial profiling, and you have not changed my view. I disagree with any type of racial profiling not just for young blacks. Read it again, and this time take your blinders off. My father was a constable, and my loyalty, and respect for Law Enforcement is not the issue, Racial Profiling is.

The fourteenth Amendment applies to all citizens.

Bill Heuisler - 12/23/2002

Mr. Shackelford,
Go to the nearest city and ask to ride-along with a beat-cop. You will find most cops are fine human beings who harbor no more racism than you do. This DWB crap is nothing more than urban legend that insults both blacks and cops. To term rational suspect identification racial profiling is foolish and dangerous.
For instance, most young inner city blacks die at the hands of other young inner city blacks. According to the US Department of Justice, black males comprise only 6% of the US population, but they commit about 56% of the gun homicides.

And 94% of their victims are other blacks, Mr. Shackelford.

Should the city cops concentrate on young inner city blacks, or should they waste assets and time stopping commuting whites and Chinese store-owners while more young blacks die?

Researching most city police department policies through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will show they certainly didn't waste time with ID checks in largely immigrant and non-English-speaking neighborhoods. In fact, police departments have been the breakthrough job for many generations of immigrants.

Comparing Twenty First Century suspect profiling to Nineteenth Century slavery is like comparing fingerprinting to flogging.
Before sneering at cops from your safe desk go meet a few.
Bill Heuisler

Jim Shackelford - 12/23/2002

Ms. Wills is correct in linking the past to the present with respect to racial profiling. The alleged crime of driving while black, particularly young, male and black, is similar to the alleged crime in previous centuries of walking around without papers to verify the status of "free." Given our roots, it is not a surprise that some feel that racial profiling is necessary and fruitful. Obviously some felt that way about slavery too.

Bill Heuisler - 12/23/2002

Ms. Willis,
Racial profiling has become an inflamatory buzz word that imputes malice and ignores utility. Selecting suspects is not the same as harassing black people. Some cops are racist, just like some preachers are racist, but most cops just want to catch bad guys. If you're looking for bananas go to Puerto Vallarta; if you're looking for scrod go to Boston. Common sense.

Recent New Jersey Turnpike traffic stops were called racial profiling because mostly blacks were stopped over a two week period, but a follow-up investigation showed that the majority of speeders on that particular stretch of highway happened to be black males. The Beltway sniper case would have been solved two weeks sooner if the police hadn't been hampered by a politically correct Chief who prevented "dark-skinned" or "Hispanic" suspect descriptions from being broadcast. At least four lives were lost because Montgomery County Police didn't "want anybody to give up on the fact that it could be a white guy."(Officer Derek Baliles)

Investigations - forensic or otherwise - must discriminate among evidence and among suspects or the process becomes a chaotic lottery, criminals walk and crime-rates soar.

Ms. Willis, you also have some facts wrong:
You say most adults today are required to carry identification. That is simply not true. Traffic stops are decidedly different. Every driver is required to have an operators license, and will be cited without one. To cite, name and address are necessary, and the driver is "detained" while a plate/registration check is initiated. No one is "held downtown until cleared" except in old movies. Further, passengers of a car under investigation may not be searched unless under arrest or there is probable cause to believe they are armed.
Your term "targeted group" betrays an anti-cop agenda and connecting Negro Registry and traffic stops in a reality-vacuum becomes race-baiting and political posturing.
Bill Heuisler