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Tag: racial profiling

Testimony Wraps Up in Case Accusing Border Patrol of Racial Profiling in Ohio

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Were Border Patrol agents profiling Hispanics in Ohio?

Two groups have filed a discrimination suit against the Border Patrol in Ohio, claiming agents have been targeting and detaining Hispanics along Lake Erie.

Testimony in the case wrapped up in federal court in Toledo last week.

Border Patrol officials denied wrongdoing and said they don’t tolerate racial profiling.

A ruling is expected in several weeks.

Albuquerque Journal: DEA’s Cash Seizure Needs Outside Investigation

By Editorial Board
Albuquerque Journal

A friendly “meet and greet” with a DEA agent in Albuquerque could result in what looks a lot like highway robbery – if the agent doesn’t like what you have to say or how you say it. If you refuse to consent to a search of your luggage, well, there’s consequences for that, too. Your luggage could be confiscated pending agents getting a search warrant from a judge.

And if you’re African-American – perhaps the only African-American male on an Amtrak car – with some cash on you, tag you’re it.

That’s roughly what happened to 22-year-old Joseph Rivers riding the train to Los Angeles in April, in his words, to pursue his dream of making a music video. DEA agents picked him out among passengers in a car to have a chat. Then they decided the $16,000 he was carrying – money he says he saved up to make the video – was somehow linked to drug trafficking.

Whatever probable cause or “hunch” they had, it wasn’t enough to arrest or to charge Rivers with a crime. But it was enough to confiscate his cash.

Rivers’ story, as told in a May 6 Journal UpFront column by Joline Gutierrez Krueger, went viral and got the attention of members of the U.S. House Judicial Committee, including Democratic New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Committee members want to know a lot more about why the money was seized and whether the agents were racial profiling when they targeted Rivers.

This is far from the first time this has happened in Albuquerque and elsewhere, and it’s time such questions are being asked.

TSA’s List of Suspicious Behaviors Is Revealed As ACLU Sues for Document

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

What do airport screeners look for when they are trying to detect suspicious behavior?

The suggestions are part of the TSA’s controversial behavior-detection program, Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques, which outlines suspicious actions.

Although the TSA considers the list of behaviors to be confidential, it was posted online.

The ACLU, which is concerned that the list encourages racial and ethnic profiling, is suing the TSA to force the release of details of the program, The Washington Post wrote.

Here are some of the suspicious behaviors: tightly gripping a bag, appearing disoriented and whistling.

“Airports are rich environments for the kind of stress, exhaustion, or confusion that the TSA apparently finds suspicious, and research has long made clear that trying to judge people’s intentions based on supposed indicators as subjective or commonplace as these just doesn’t work,” Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement.

Obama Administration to Ban Racial Profiling Among Federal Law Enforcement

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

In an effort to curb racial profiling, the Obama administration plans today to announce new rules for federal law enforcement, the Washington Post reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. wants to prevent federal officials from using gender, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity to open cases. The plan also calls for ending racial profiling from national security cases.

But the new rules won’t cover local governments unless they are working with federal task forces.

Protests have sprung up nationwide following grand jury decisions not to indict two white cops who killed Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, both of whom were young and unarmed.

“At this historic moment in our nation’s race relations, the release of this revised guidance is an important signal of progress, but it does not completely address the need for reform of policing tactics at the state and local level,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s Washington Legislative Office.

 

Justice Department to Dramatically Expand Rules Aimed at Profiling by Federal Agents

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a move to address decades of concerns about the protection of civil rights, the Justice Department plans to expand its definition of racial profiling to alleviate discrimination by religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, the New York Times reports.

Although the Bush administration banned racial profiling in 2003, it provided exclusions for national security cases and Latinos for immigration probes.

Attorney General Eric Holder wants that to change, the Times wrote.

“Putting an end to this practice not only comports with the Constitution, it would put real teeth to the F.B.I.’s claims that it wants better relationships with religious minorities,” said Hina Shamsi, a national security lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

It’s unclear when the new rules will go into effect.

ACLU Report: FBI Has No Safeguards to Protect Against Constitutional Violations

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s lack of safeguards in collecting suspicious activity leads to privacy violations as well as racial and religious profiling, the ACLU claimed in a new report, the Washington Post reports.

The FBI collects so-called “suspicious activity” records using the eGuardian system, which has caused confusion among different law enforcement agencies, the Post reported.

“These programs give extremely broad discretion to law enforcement officials to monitor and collect information about innocent people engaged in commonplace activities, and to store data in criminal intelligence files without evidence of wrongdoing,” the report says.

FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said the bureau has a commitment to sharing appropriate information.

“The FBI conforms to well-established authorities and safeguards in order to obtain threat information from state and local police authorities and to make that information available to other state and local police authorities, while also protecting privacy and civil liberties,” Kortan said.

Is FBI Racially Profiling? ACLU Loses Court Battle to Find Out

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI does not have to publicly release records on its use of ethnic and racial data, the Star-Ledger reports.

The ACLU sued for the records, worried that FBI guidelines foe 2008 were encouraging racial profiling.

The guidelines were revised to allow agents to engage in “limited” racial and ethnic profiling, the Star-Ledger reported.

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the ACLU’s claims, saying that the FBI had “amply justified” the withholding of the records.

“We are deeply disappointed by this decision, which denies the public’s right to know which New Jersey communities the FBI is spying on through its secretive racial mapping intelligence program,” said Nusrat Choudhury, an ACLU National Security Project attorney who helped litigate the case.

Border Patrol to Reveal 18 Months of Traffic Stop Records After ACLU Lawsuit

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The U.S Border Patrol, as part of a lawsuit alleging the agency racially profiles people, has agreed to share records of each traffic stop in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for 18 months, ABC News reports.

The ACLU has alleged in a lawsuit that Border Patrol agents were pulling over people without reasonable suspicion because of the way people look.

The agency also pledged to retrain its Olympic Peninsula agents on the Fourth Amendment, ABC News wrote.

Still, the Border Patrol has admitted no wrongdoing.

“This agreement confirms that Border Patrol can’t pull over a vehicle because of the driver’s race or ethnicity or simply because the person lives in proximity to the border,” said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “We hope that the reporting requirements and the additional training will ultimately provide greater accountability, and restore a measure of dignity for folks who live in this region.”