Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Highway racial profiling bill introduced in state legislature

The Tennessean reports that Rep. Henri Brooks of Memphis has introduced a bill designed to keep better records of what happens in traffic stops conducted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The concern is that the possibility of racial profiling cannot be discovered with current record-keeping methods.

A 2002 Tennessee study which did not include the THP "found that officers searched Hispanics 140% more often than the state average and blacks 16% more than the state average. Evidence was seized from Hispanics and blacks above the state averages. Factors other than racial profiling - such as commuting patterns, tourism, demographics of universities and colleges, and the deployment of law enforcement within a city - may be at work, the study's authors found. The data did not definitively show or refute racial profiling was happening in Tennessee, they said."

The Tennessean has a copy of the proposed record-keeping bill here.

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