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Recently posted on a local online city forum in Allen, TX citizens were discussing the issue of racial profiling. Certain individuals even had personal stories of how they had been racially discriminated against.
One guy in Allen says "This cop decided to stare me down at a gas station, then pull me over a mile away, then spit a lie at me saying that he heard of a threat in the area and the suspect is in a black car. He then questions my 2 white girlfriends in the car how old they are, if I have any warrants, where I was going, what I was doing, where I was before. All for driving down the freaking street minding my own business! "
There are definitely two sides to every story and this young man could be manipulating the story, but these kinds of acts are far too common in today's society.
While racial profiling is illegal, a 1996 Supreme Court decision allows police to stop motorists and search their vehicles if they believe trafficking illegal drugs or weapons. More traffic stops leads to more arrests, which further skews the racial profiling statistics against African Americans. Studies have shown that African Americans are far more likely to be stopped and searched. Anyone could see how this would just keep a vicious cycle going, causing the system to be more justified in they're racial pursuit.
There was even a case late last year of a Illinois Congressman, Danny Davis being pulled over and racially profiled against. Davis had been working on his radio show until around midnight Sunday. He was driving home three of his guests -- all African-Americans -- when Chicago police officers pulled his vehicle over around 1 a.m. Monday. "He was not speeding, had a valid driver's license, wasn't swerving, but was pulled over anyway.
There are a few things that you as an American Citizen should know. Here are a few things that might help if you find yourself in one of these kinds of predicaments.
First, you must know your rights! You are not required to give permission to police officer to search your car. You can deny the request - but do so politely.
Secondly, don't argue! The police may try to intimidate you. Do not be confrontational and provoke an argument. This just gives them more ammunition against you in their police report!
Also, get the names of the officers that pulled you over. Be sure to get their badge numbers, squad car number, license plate number, and make a note of the location and time of day. That way when you go to make your complaint, you look intelligent and responsible, so that your complaint is taken seriously.
If you feel that you were the victim of discrimination or racial profiling, file a complaint, contact the ACLU or other civil rights organizations for legal advice, or get an attorney who is well experienced in these matters. Man can only have as much power as you allow them to have over you. You have a right as an American citizen to drive free of harassment and discrimination.
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