At another incredible keynote speech today at Netroots Nation 2012 titled “Criminal Justice in America”, there were a few examples mentioned of issues related to the Trayvon Martin case you may not know of. I decided to pass on a few that were mentioned in the key note, other panels, as well as find a few more of my own examples. Racial profiling needs to be eradicated. The only way to do that is first by knowing where the problem exists.
Stop and Frisk (New York):
A program that gives police the ability to stop, question and search anyone that they have “reasonable suspicion” of committing criminal activity. Supporters say that it reduces crime, opponents question whether the police really have “reasonable” suspicion of the people that they stop. About 580,000 people were stopped in 2009, 55% of which were African-American and a large portion was also Hispanic. Only 6% of the stops resulted in arrests.
Cocaine vs. Crack Offenses:
“The sentences for crack offenses need to fall to a level in line with the punishments for powder,” said Rachel King, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “There is no rational medical or policy reason to punish crack more severely than powder. Cocaine is cocaine.” In the powder cocaine cases in 2000, 57% were against Latinos and 30% against African-Americans, even though the vast majority of powder cocaine users were white. 84.7% of crack cases were against African-Americans, 9% against Hispanics and only 5.6% against Whites. Where in reality, 64.4% of users are white. The federal mandatory minimum prison sentence disparity between cocaine and crack is 18 to 1, which was improved in 2009 from a disparity of 100 to 1.
Criminals And The Right to Vote:
Yes, it is a right. Most rights are restored to criminals after they leave jail, however voting is not one of them. Some states require you to petition the governor if you would ever like your right to vote to be restored after being in jail.
Report Illegal Immigrant Hotline:
There are multiple hotlines for people to call if they just “suspect” someone of being illegal, both national and local.
Those are just a few, feel free to leave more example in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.
There is hope, the End Racial Profiling Act has been introduced and needs to be given more support!