Sunday, August 25, 2019

NJ state police and blacks on the NJ turnpike Essay

NJ state police and blacks on the NJ turnpike - Essay Example There are at least two operative definitions of the practice knows as racial profiling: The first is what is termed as ‘hard profiling’, which puts an individuals race as the only consideration in the minds eye of the officer in making a preliminary assessment of suspicious criminality. When a police officer views a black person or other minority, and the officer does not have anything else to substantiate criminality, he pulls the black person over for a pat down on the hope that he may either Find a weapon or drugs in his possession. The second form is referred too as ‘soft racial profiling’, where the police officer uses race as one of the reasons, among others which have been previously detailed to him as stereotypical of drug dealers or couriers. The New Jersey State Troopers for example, have intelligence that Jamaican drug posses have a fondness for Nissan Pathfinders as their vehicles of choice when transporting marijuana along the Northeast Corridor. The controversy surrounds racial profiling on the New Jersey Turnpike as practiced by New Jersey State Troopers was focused almost exclusively on highway stops. Where the police were stopping a disproportionate share of black and other minority drivers for traffic violations, but the prevailing argument states that the stops were specifically carried out as a means of drug interdiction. Of course in many instances, the driver may have committed an infraction, but there might, and usually were others within the specific cluster in which he was traveling, who also committed a similar violation. But it was their lucky day for the others, because a minority was in the vicinity. 2 New Jersey State Police and Blacks on the New Jersey Turnpike We will take a look into a court case which led a Superior Court judge to conclude in 1996 that the New Jersey State Police had a policy of 'selective enforcement' by targeting blacks for investigation and arrest. Some of the finding were as follows; "The ruling followed one of the states longest evidentry hearings-six months of testimony and 200 exhibits, many of them statistical surveys of drivers and traffic stops on the southern most 26-mile stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike. Judge Robert Francis found that troopers looking for drug suspects had pulled over an inordinate number of black drivers over a three year period simply because of their race. The survey determined that some 98 per cent of all the drivers along the stretch of the turnpike were going over the speed limit of 55 miles per hour, giving the police latitude to stop virtually anybody. The survey found that while 13.5 per cent of the drivers on the stretch of the highway were black, 46 per cent of those halted by the police over a 40- month period were black" According to the public defender, Fred Last, who helped design the survey, said, "They were pulling over blacks out of proportion to the population of the turnpike" (Last). Judge Francis agreed, saying, "The statistical disparities are indeed stark", the judge added, "utter failure" of police commanders to monitor the arrests or investigate the many claims of institutional discrimination, manifests its indifference if not acceptance" (Francis) One striking result of the survey, which the judge noted, was that the troopers using 3 radar tended to stop black drivers at near their rate in the highway population, while the

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