WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, at a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) announced he will reintroduce the End Racial Profiling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1933). Senator Ben (D-MD) has introduced the Senate companion. Rep. Conyers was joined by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Member, and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CPAC), Hilary Shelton, NAACP Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, Jennifer Bellamy, Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Tamika Mallory and marchers from NY’s Justice League 250 mile March 2 Justice from New York City to Washington, D.C.
“The killing of Walter Scott – arising from a traffic stop – along with the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant and many more highlight the fact that racial profiling remains a divisive issue in communities across our nation. ” said Rep. John Conyers. “We know a majority of police officers perform their duties professionally– but several recent incidents of police-involved violence have severely damaged the ties between community and law enforcement to the degree that federal action is needed to being addressing the core issue. This is a systemic issue plaguing men of color in America, stigmatizing them from youth throughout adulthood. The bill introduced by Sen. Cardin and I would make for the first time, use of racial profiling a federal offense. By ending use of racial profiling in police tactics and prioritizing community relations, we can cultivate community focused; smart policing that rebuilds trust in law enforcement.”
The End Racial Profiling Act has a multi-pronged approach to healing the rift between community and law enforcement. It will eliminate the well documented problem of racial profiling by establishing a prohibition on the practice and mandating retraining and data collection by federal law enforcement agencies. The legislation also provides grants for the reinforcement and/or development of effective, positive policing practices. For the first time, this bill will make federal cause of action for racial profiling, meaning victims will be able to seek redress in a court of law.
“Tragic events in Baltimore and New York, North Charleston and Ferguson, and elsewhere around the country have shown us that federal legislation finally ending racial profiling is essential. While the vast majority of law enforcement work with professionalism and fidelity to the rule of law, we can never accept the outright targeting of individuals based on the way they look or dress,” said Senator Cardin. “As a matter of practice, racial profiling just doesn’t work and it erodes the trust that is necessary between law enforcement and the very communities they protect. I am proud to stand once again with Rep. Conyers in introducing this legislation. We share the wish that it wasn’t necessary in America today.”
“It is difficult for our faith in the American judicial system not to be challenged when we cannot walk down the street, drive down an interstate highway, go through an airport, or even enter into our own homes without being stopped merely because of the color of our skin. The End Racial Profiling Act will help stop this insidious practice and to begin to restore the confidence of communities of color throughout the United States in federal, state and local law enforcement and thus restore the necessary trust and integrity necessary to be effective,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
Added Rep. Judy Chu, “The recent spate of unarmed civilians shot and killed by police is truly alarming. But while more stories have made their way into national headlines in recent months, we know that these are not exceptions, but rather common experiences that communities of color face all too often. And that will not end until law enforcement officials are trained to see minorities as people, not threats. That is why I am proud to support the End Racial Profiling Act. This important bill will grant protections to victims of profiling and mandate that federal law enforcement officials receive adequate training to finally put an end to this ineffective practice. Through smart legislation like ERPA, we can end the mistrust bred by profiling and ensure that no one feels unsafe, unequal, or un-American because of the way they look or the faith they practice.”
"We carried the End Racial Profiling Act on a journey by foot from NYC to Washington, DC to send a message that change must come and police departments must engage in transparency and accountability. The work begins today and we will continue to mobilize and organize communities to end police brutality, end racial profiling and demand government invest in our communities,” said Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the March2Justice and board member of The Gathering for Justice.
“Biased profiling not only ruins the trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they are hired to protect and serve, but in too many cases, the practice of racial profiling has led to injury or death,” said Hilary Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior VP for Policy and Advocacy.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. and former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) originally introduced the End Racial Profiling Act in 2001 with bipartisan support. Rep. Conyers has reintroduced the legislation every Congress since.
This bill has the support of 82 original cosponsors, all House Democrats: Reps. Alma Adams [NC-12], Karen Bass [CA-37], Joyce Beatty [OH-3] Donald Beyer, Jr. [VA-8] Sanford Bishop, Jr. [GA-2], Earl Blumenauer [OR-3], G.K. Butterfield [NC-1], Corinne Brown [FL-5], Andre Carson [IN-7], Matt Cartwright [PA-17], Judy Chu [CA-27], David Cicilline [RI-1], Yvette Clarke [NY-9], Wm. Lacy Clay [MO-1], James Clyburn [SC-06], Emanuel Cleaver [MO-05], Steve Cohen [TN-9], Bonnie Coleman-Watson [NJ-12], Elijah Cummings [MD-7], Danny Davis[IL-7], Diana DeGette [CO-1], John Delaney [MD-6], Suzan DelBene [WA-1] Ted Deutch [FL-21], Debbie Dingell [MI-12], Donna Edwards [MD-4], Keith Ellison [MN-5], Sam Farr [CA-20], Chaka Fattah [PA-02], Marcia Fudge [OH-11], Al Green [TX-09], Raul Grijalva [AZ-3], Luis Gutierrez [IL-4], Alcee Hastings [FL-20], Denny Heck [WA-10], Rueben Hinojosa [TX-15], Mike Honda [CA-17], Sheila Jackson Lee [TX-18], Hakeem Jeffries [NY-8], Eddie Bernice Johnson [TX-30], Henry C. "Hank" Johnson [GA-4], Kathy Castor [FL-14], Robin Kelly [IL-2], Joseph P. Kennedy III [MA-4], Brenda Lawernce [MI-14], Barbara Lee [CA-13], John Lewis [GA-5], Zoe Lofgren [CA-19], Carolyn B. Maloney [NY-12], Betty McCollum [MN-4],Jim McDermott [WA-7], James P. McGovern [MA-2], Gregory W. Meeks [NY-5], Gwen Moore [WI-4], Jerrold Nadler [NY-10], Grace F. Napolitano [CA-32], Eleanor Holmes Norton [DC], Beto O’Rouke [TX-16], Donald M. Payne, Jr. [NJ-10], Scott Peters [CA-52], Pedro R. Pierluisi [PR], Stacey Plaskett [VI], Mark Pocan [WI-2], Charles B. Rangel [NY-13], Cedric L. Richmond [LA-2], Lucille Roybal-Allard [CA-40], Bobby Rush [IL-01], Linda Sanchez [CA-38], John P. Sarbanes [MD-3], Janice D. Schakowsky [IL-9], David Scott [GA-13], Robert C. "Bobby" Scott [VA-3], Jose E. Serrano [NY-15], Terri A. Sewall [AL-7], Louise McIntosh Slaughter [NY-25], Adam Smith [WA-9], Eric Swalwell [CA-15], Bennie G. Thompson [MS-2], Chris Van Hollen [MD-8], Marc Veasey [TX-33], Maxine Waters [CA-43], Frederica S. Wilson [FL-24].