Racist Profiling
By Amadi Ajamu

Historically, the intersection of race and law enforcement in the United States has been entrenched in the ideology of white supremacy. Laws are written and carried out by whites and in the interest of whites. Laws are in fact, an instrument used to determine the conditions of Black people.

For instance, Black folks have been enslaved by law, "emancipated" by law, disenfranchised by law and segregated by law. Moreover, 19th century US slave codes created an entirely separate set of crimes and punishments that were not applicable to whites and punished enslaved Blacks more harshly for crimes committed against whites than against another black person.

Contemporary slave codes have manifested themselves in many different arenas, but none as prolific as in the nefarious domain of illicit narcotics. Despite the fact that this multi-billion dollar industry dictates international manufacturing and distribution mechanisms; law enforcement "profiles of drug dealers" sanctioned by the highest levels of the courts, undoubtedly contain the characteristic of dark skin or Black males residing in impoverished urban areas. Therefore the police practice of detaining, harassing, illegally searching, arresting, and murdering Black men is common place on the airports, highways, streets, and households of America. According to an April 1999 report prepared for the US Commission on Civil Rights by The Sentencing Project, Black people constitute 13% of the country's drug users; 37% of those arrested on drug charges; 55% of those convicted; and 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison.

The high profile cases involving New Jersey State Troopers shooting of Leroy Germaine Grant, Rayshawn Brown, Keshon Moore, and Daniel Reyes in a van on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1998 and the New York City Police Departments' murder of Amadou Diallo in 1999 and Patrick Dorismond in 2000, all of whom were unarmed and did not possess any drugs, dramatically exposed the insidious nature this particular human rights violation and the levels of judicial collusion involved.

Notoriously racist police formations have been periodically exposed. For example, in 1988 an internal investigation revealed the existence of fraternity within the ranks of the Reynoldsburg, Ohio Police Department call "SNAT" or "Special Nigger Arrest Team". In California, a March 2000 report by the Los Angeles Police Department on corruption in its Rampart District station house exposed an elite secretive anti-gang squad called the "CRASH" or Community Resource Against Street Hoodlums unit that operated as a criminal enterprise which terrorized the Black community.

They committed widespread perjury and sent hundreds to jail on trumped up charges. They stole and dealt in illegal drugs. They even shot a handcuffed and unarmed Black man in the head and when he survived they testified against him and sent him to prison. In order to get into this elite unit, a white officer had to pledge like a fraternity. In New York City the elite Street Crimes Unit operating under the slogan "We own the night" was responsible for the murders of Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, shooting Mr. Diallo forty-one times. In court, the murderers of Mr. Diallo were acquitted and the murderers of Mr. Dorismond were not even indicted.

From 1997 through 1998 the Street Crimes Unit documented that they stopped and frisked 45,000 primarily Black and Latino men, many thousands more are believed to have gone undocumented.

The Civil Rights Act of 1965, section 1(E) and 2(E), allegedly grants protection to minority motorist from interference by intimidation, injury, or interference of individuals. The Privileges and Immunities Clause of Section 2 Article 4 of the US Constitution affords protection for the rights to interstate travel or personal mobility. And the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution is supposed to protect citizens from unreasonable governmental intrusion when it infringes on a person's expectation of privacy without probable cause. Therefore the racist practice of profiling drug dealers should be illegal. But when these "illegal" acts are committed by racist law enforcement officials against Black people, the laws suddenly do not apply.

A macro-view of the practice of racist profiling incorporates many different spheres of Black life, education, policies, and the widespread practice of tracking Black students to "special education" and remedial classes, the steady decline of low and moderate income housing and the re-gentrification of cities across the US, banking and financing "red-line" policy in small business and home mortgage loans, employment and hiring practices, inferior health care facilities in Black communities, the systematic violation of Black voter rights, and the entire criminal justice system including the massive prison industrial complex whose population has surpassed 2 million, with another four million who are being supervised on parole or probation.

US laws are written and carried out by whites and for whites, and are an instrument used to determine the conditions of Black people - their ex slaves. Those conditions are subjugation, terror, and oppression.


TRUE DEMOCRACY     SPRING 2001     Copyright © 2001 by News Sourse, Inc.