Thursday, May 14, 2015

YWCA: Jeff Flake Should Get on Board with End Racial Profiling Act

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 3:30 PM

The YWCA is asking U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake to join the fight against racial profiling. 

At their 98th anniversary breakfast—where the organization raised more than $44,000 ($14,000 more than their original goal)— CEO Kelly Fryer called Flake's office and left a nice voice mail enticing him to co-sponsor the End Racial Profiling Act. In the past nearly two decades, the bill has been brought up at least 10 times and it's headed nowhere. 

This year's attempt was introduced in April by Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland and U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan. The bill would create a federal prohibition on racial profiling, banning targeting a person based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. 

A nice summary by the Human Rights Campaign:
In December 2014, the Department of Justice updated guidance which prohibited federal law enforcement officials from profiling an individual based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion to include gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. While an important step, the guidance is unable to address issues at the state and local level.

The End Racial Profiling Act of 2015 would prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from targeting a person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation without trustworthy information that is relevant to linking a person to a crime. The bill also requires federal law enforcement to maintain adequate policies and procedures designed to eliminate racial profiling (defined broadly), including data collecting and processes for investigating and responding to complaints alleging racial profiling. 
Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district represents Ferguson, was among the speakers at the event this morning. She shared stories on what has been going on in the city and criticized the "heavy-handed police response and general mismanagement of the crisis within the community," a press release from the YWCA said. 

More on that:
Chappelle-Nadal acknowledged that institutional inequality is a major issue underpinning the unrest in Ferguson, contributing to tensions between police and an angered community: "I have to tell you that there has been systematic racism, institutionally in state government for decades, including my own state party,” she said. 

The Senator has proposed legislation in 2015 to re-examine policies related to use of deadly force and proper legal procedures following officer-involved deaths, and she has called for the resignation of Governor Jay Nixon (D). She called for Arizonans to take a lead from the YWCA’s efforts here in Tucson to end racial profiling.
Flake has not responded to Fryer's message, according to the YWCA. 

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