Last week, Nebraska Appleseed joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and more than 100 organizations across the country in calling for federal action to prevent discriminatory profiling by law enforcement that continues to occur across the country.
In the statement, the groups called for increased accountability in state and local law enforcement agencies that will reduce the instances of discriminatory racial profiling that continue to drive a wedge between law enforcement and the public it is sworn to protect and serve, such as in the current unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Last week’s shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the military-style response by the local police to demonstrators, and allegations of racially biased law enforcement are the result of longstanding and corrosive limitations on our nation’s law enforcement policies that allow unlawful profiling to persist across the country,” the group said in the statement.
“The Department of Justice should update the federal Guidance on the Use of Race to help ensure that the harmful and unproductive practice of racial profiling is eliminated from law enforcement tactics,” said Rebecca Gonzales, coordinator of Nebraska Appleseed’s Racial Justice Project. “Congress should pass the End Racial Profiling Act which would provide uniformity on the definition of racial profiling and training to local law enforcement agencies. And our Nebraska Crime Commission should continue to vigorously enforce our newly revised anti-racial profiling law. Together, these are good first steps towards beginning to address these bias-based policing techniques which cause distrust of police by the community and undermine effective policing and public safety.”
Nebraska recently updated the 2001 state law that bans racial profiling by all law enforcement agencies in the state. All agencies must have had an anti-racial profiling policy in place by January 1, 2014, that includes internal methods of prevention and enforcement.
Nebraska also has a Racial Profiling Advisory Committee made up of law enforcement and community organizations that is charged with advising the Nebraska Crime Commission on racial profiling prevention policies, data collection and analysis, review of the annual reports and policy recommendations. The Committee meets twice a year – the next public meeting is September 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Nebraska Crime Commission’s offices on the 5th floor, 301 Centennial Mall in Lincoln.
We strongly encourage Nebraskans to attend this meeting and learn more about how racial profiling is being addressed in Nebraska.