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Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

Civil Rights Advocates Seek Strategy Against Racial Profiling

Civil rights advocates urged Congress to do more to fight racial profiling at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Thursday afternoon. The hearing featured testimony from black, Sikh, and Muslim groups, as well as the police chief of Salt Lake City.

Lawmakers will never be able to properly address racial profiling by the nation’s law enforcement officers if they don’t have an accurate assessment of how truly evasive it is, said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau.

“The only way to move the discussion about racial profiling from rhetoric and accusation to a more rational dialogue and appropriate enforcement strategies is to collect the information that will either allay community concerns about the activities of the police or help communities ascertain the scope and magnitude of the problem,” Shelton testified.

Shelton believes that implementing a national data collection system would also lead to more effective training of law enforcement agents and officers.