Immigrant Group Wants Racial-Profiling Ordinance | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Immigrant Group Wants Racial-Profiling Ordinance

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Civil-rights attorney Chokwe Lumumba wants to apply his background as an organizer and activist on the city council.

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance legal counsel Patricia Ice will appear before the Jackson City Council Tuesday at 6 p.m., to call for an anti-racial and immigrant-profiling ordinance.

The ordinance is modeled on one used in Detroit, Mich. Sections 27-9-1 through 27-9-7 Chapter 27 of the 1984 Detroit City Code forbids a police officer from basing reasonable suspicion for an investigative detention, probable cause for an arrest or any other police action "on a person's appearance, ethnicity, immigration status, manner of dress, national origin, physical characteristics, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression."

The ordinance does not, however, stop a cop from taking into account the reported appearance, ethnicity, immigration status, manner of dress, national origin, physical characteristics, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression for the purpose of identifying a described suspect.

City spokesman Chris Mims said the city currently does not have an anti-racial profiling ordinance.

Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba said he would support the ordinance if it made it out of committee and appeared before the council for a vote.

"I would support it because we need to do all we can to protect people," said Lumumba, a virtual Geiger counter for the council in that he typically votes with the council majority. "There is racial profiling in Jackson, although age profiling is a bigger problem. Young black kids, in particular, catch hell in Jackson."

Lumumba said the Jackson Police Department tends to set up traffic checkpoints in mostly non-white areas. Former Mayor Frank Melton drew criticism from Lumumba and others who complained that he led checkpoints and raids in black sections of the city.

Immigrants Rights Alliance Executive Director Bill Chandler told the Jackson Free Press that the practice of targeting minorities for traffic violations and vehicle searches is more rampant in the largely white suburban areas, but said the city should do all it could to discourage it inside city limits.

Lumumba agreed that racial profiling is a big issue in the suburbs surrounding Jackson, and complained that other police departments bordering the city aim their searches near the Jackson city limit.

"I've seen officers out there, and I've seen them with people pulled over, and typically it's a young black person. I've also had many calls to my office from people complaining of being targeted in those areas," Lumumba said.

Previous Comments

ID
155433
Comment

Thank you immigrants! Thanks to Mississippi Immigrant and Rights Alliance and all involved.

Author
GrayRiv
Date
2010-01-25T17:29:10-06:00
ID
155448
Comment

What wonderful feel-good legislation. I think that profiling should be used in airports. Think of the lives that could be saved. Or should innocent lives be lost in the name of political correctness?

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T10:14:12-06:00
ID
155458
Comment

If we profile one race, we should profile all. After all, white men did commit a terrorist act in Oklahoma.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2010-01-26T11:31:28-06:00
ID
155464
Comment

That's one instance. What percentage of terrorist attacks are done by Middle Eastern Muslims? I heard a guy say this morning that not all Muslims are terrorists, but lately all the terrorists are Muslims. On a local level, I live in Ridgeland, and recently was informed that about 85% of all crime in the city was happening in an area around 2 particular (adjoining) apt. complexes. Should the cops not profile in this area? I mean, should law enforcement not be allowed to use proven methods?

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T12:58:31-06:00
ID
155465
Comment

No, better yet: Let's just profile all men. What percentage of terrorist attacks are done by men? Not to mention other kinds of violence? And "profiling" quite as "proven" as you seem to think. Betcha money you're posting that without studying up on it. You're just assuming it makes sense.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T13:12:45-06:00
ID
155466
Comment

Also, Rex, in the U.S., many, many more acts of terrorism have been committed by white men than "Middle Eastern Muslims." Your bias is showing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T13:15:40-06:00
ID
155468
Comment

Donna, if all of the 9-11 guys were Catholic, like me, and I got profiled because of it, I would not be bummed. I saw a spot on 60 Minutes years ago about the Hwy Patrol in FLA developing a profile on drug runners, and they had an amazing amount of success with it. The profile was based on race, age, car make, and State of license plate. If you know the overwhelming majority of crime is committed by a certain demographic and don't allow officials to take that into consideration, that is the epitome of PC run amok. And you are right- I have a big-time bias against people that try to blow things up and kill innocent people in the name of their religion.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T13:24:56-06:00
ID
155469
Comment

Me, too, Rex. And it happens under the guise of all faiths. Remember all the Klansmen who terrorized this nation for many decades? All under the name of Christianity.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T13:34:08-06:00
ID
155470
Comment

Just wondering, Donna, but if it could be proven to you by means of a scientific study, that profiling is indeed a proven method for lowering crime and/or terror attacks, would you still be against it?

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T13:35:28-06:00
ID
155471
Comment

You think the FBI didn't profile white rednecks back in the Civil Rights era? LOL- And please inform me of group more involved in intl terror than Muslims.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T13:37:37-06:00
ID
155473
Comment

It seems we define "profile" a bit different, Rex. The FBI infiltrated terrorist Klan groups -- just as investigators do terrorist cells now. That's very different from targeting a Muslim (or redneck) looking guy because he walks into an airport. Surely to God you can see the difference if you're not too blinded by your fear of all-things-Muslim. If you can't think outside your own bias, I have no reason to try to engage you further on it. Of course, the language you're using right now is the same those very-same Klansmen used to justify targeting, or profiling, African Americans back then. They were dangerous. You're slipping down a treacherous slope on this one.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T13:51:14-06:00
ID
155474
Comment

Reximus, you really do need to research the limitations of profiling. A profile as broad as "Middle Eastern" or "Muslim" is too broad to be useful. It actually decreases the effectiveness of airport security by wasting resources. If all you've got to go on is that the suspect may be Muslim, you don't have anything at all. Republicans use this issue as catnip for whites who resent "political correctness," but racial profiling is too clumsy to be effective. Also, please keep your categories straight. Patrolling an area with high crime is not racial profiling. Use examples that make sense.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-01-26T13:53:34-06:00
ID
155475
Comment

Just wondering, Donna, but if it could be proven to you by means of a scientific study, that profiling is indeed a proven method for lowering crime and/or terror attacks, would you still be against it? Funny to ask that question rather than just proving it, Rex. ;-) I have to assume you don't know what the research actually says. I'm guessing you probably think that torture works, too. The answer is not a simple one because I'm a staunch American who believes in our ideals of individual rights laid out in the Constitution -- those that make all those people you fear *over there* hate us so much. So the quandary is that if we do what you want, we wouldn't be the beacon of freedom that makes all those you hate hate us so much. So we would become them (again). No, I'm not in on that. Even if it would lower crime.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T13:54:29-06:00
ID
155477
Comment

Even Bush's people recognized that racial profiling makes little sense. Former Bush CIA director Michael Hayden said that seeking out terrorists isn't "a question of ethnicity or religion." Rather, "it's what people do that we should be paying attention to." Former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued that "relying on preconceptions or stereotypes is actually kind of misleading and arguably dangerous" because terrorists intentionally recruit people "who don't fit the stereotype." Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, suggests "effective profiling...is based on the analysis of the...behavior of a passenger and an inspection of the traveler's itinerary and passport; it does not and should not be based on race, religion, nationality or color of skin." As former Homeland Security press secretary Russ Knocke explained in 2006, security personnel are, and should be, trained "to look for abnormal human behavior. ... That is in no way racial profiling. That is behavioral profiling."

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-01-26T14:09:22-06:00
ID
155478
Comment

But in truth, it's hard to know how seriously we should take any of these "proposals." Rep. Peter King and Newt Gringrich have each suggested that we should screen all Muslims. But there are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. That doesn't usefully narrow it down. One of the Fox brainiacs has suggested that we screen all people named "Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed." But those are some of the most common names in the world. If you stop everyone named Mohammed, Richard Reid coasts right through security with his shoe bomb.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-01-26T14:15:05-06:00
ID
155479
Comment

The FBI typically profiles serial killers as white males. They are usually correct but not always. I can see a distinction between profiling for Airline security and for traffic stops. Airline security profiling makes some sense to me, in that, it makes no sense to give serious scrutiny to my 83 year old aunt's shoes as she tries to board the flight she takes to and from Jackson four times a year. I tried to go through security with an expired driver's license in 2008 (I didn't realize it had expired three days before until the TSA agent informed me at the metal detector). I got singled out at every connection for an extra heaping helping of security checks. It seems that common sense goes out the window when we try to be so politically correct. Just using race or skin color doesn't make much sense but tie that together with a one way ticket paid for in cash and no luggage. That is the profile of a terrorist, it's probably not a terrorist but it should be looked into more deeply than my aunt's sneakers or my expired ID. Of course, none of that has anything to do with a city ordinance to stop racial profiling of immigrants. I think it sounds kinda silly to pretend the police won't use their powers of observation in the performance of their duties. But silly never stopped politicians from pandering to special interests for votes.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-01-26T14:30:46-06:00
ID
155480
Comment

No, Donna, I'm all against torture. I'm just saying that profiling HAS been shown to work. And you have said that you're against it even if it could be scientifically proven to work, thus showing that you care more about being PC than do you about public safety.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T14:47:05-06:00
ID
155481
Comment

Right, it's not like the FBI or police typically pull over white guys because they *might* be a serial killer. There's stupid profiling, and there are sophisticated types that are about a lot more than what someone looks like. The kind Rex talks about is no better than the Northside Sun's habit (which goes against nationwide journalistic best practices) of calling out someone's race for crimes even with no other distinguishing characteristics: "A black male broke into a car." (Of course, The Clarion-Ledger's practice of never mentioning race even when needed with other info to help identify someone is stupid as well.) There is nearly always an intelligent middle ground. And "profiling" someone for just looking like Rex's feared "Middle Eastern Muslims" is nowhere near that place. It's sad to see where the race fears of old have been translated now that it is no longer acceptable to say *those* things out loud. Now people like Rex (not having the courage to use his own name to do it, of course) say stuff like this.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T14:51:45-06:00
ID
155482
Comment

No, Donna, I'm all against torture. I'm just saying that profiling HAS been shown to work. And you have said that you're against it even if it could be scientifically proven to work, thus showing that you care more about being PC than do you about public safety. And that is *exactly* kind of rewrite of my words that someone with your views of "profiling" would write. It's funny how so many people yelping in the blogosphere immediately resort to the nonsensical use of "PC" when your argument is lying in crumbles on the floor around your feet. So it's "politically correct" to believe in the principles our country was supposedly built on, eh, Rex? Nice one. Stop being stupid on my watch, Rex. I don't have time or patience for it today.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T14:53:29-06:00
ID
155485
Comment

"No, I'm not in on that. Even if it would lower crime." Thats not a rewrite. And name calling does not become you, Donna. Just because you don't agree with my views does not make me stupid. Oh, and maybe you should ask the Israelis about profiling.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T15:10:42-06:00
ID
155487
Comment

Rex- Yes, profiling has been shown to work, sometimes, but usually only 25% of the time, so you have 75% of the people who are being stop and subjected to searches for nothing, just because they are of a certain race. That's wrong,can't you see that?

Author
BubbaT
Date
2010-01-26T15:17:09-06:00
ID
155488
Comment

Rex, where is your evidence that racial profiling works? You keep saying it's been proven in "scientific studies." So cite them. WMartin, the example you provide shows how muddled conservatives are on this issue. Someone who pays with cash and checks no luggage meets some of the behavioral criteria used by security screeners. If such a passenger comes from Yemen, you have a bright red flag. Taking into account their brown skin is not a useful parameter. So you have racial profiling on the one hand (ineffective) and behavioral profiling on the other (effective). You speak of politicians "pandering to special interests for votes," but Latinos are not properly described as a "special interest." Nor are those who support civil rights. The only pandering going on is from politicians like Newt Gingrich, who pay lip service to racial profiling to pander to people like Rex. Gingrich is smart enough to know it's stupid, but he also knows that it's red meat for angry conservatives.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-01-26T15:19:00-06:00
ID
155489
Comment

Rex, I hate to promo my own stuff, but I'm busy today and you've said stuff here that two of my blog entries already address: Why Racial Profiling Helps Terrorists (and Criminals) Why "It Might Save Lives" Isn't Always Good Enough Beyond that, I can only paraphrase what someone once said about Rush Limbaugh: "If you think profiling is OK, you won't mind if I ignore you on the basis that you fit the profile of someone who would think profiling is OK." Or, to put it another way, it's a lot easier to say you support profiling when you know you won't be personally affected by the policy. Oh, and props to Bill, Patricia, and Chokwe. We badly need this ordinance, and we should all be writing our City Council members asking that they pass it.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2010-01-26T15:23:33-06:00
ID
155490
Comment

... and he's smart enough to know that even *this* Supreme Court wouldn't allow it. Like when Bill Clinton supported the Communications Decency Act, knowing full well that it was unconstitutional. But he did it to pander to people who think it meant that kids would be protected. It's the same logic Rex is using to say I'm being "PC" for saying that we shouldn't sacrifice our American ideals to do blanket profiling because it might catch a criminal or two in the net if they get lucky. He is having a very basic, and base, reaction that isn't grounded in reality. He doesn't need to do research because he just *knows* it's right, and if anyone challenges it as either (a) dumb or (b) unconstitutional or even (c) un-American, then the challenger must be PC. And this coming from someone too cowardly to use his own name on his posts. Nice.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T15:25:51-06:00
ID
155491
Comment

Rex, it is stupid to quote someone out of context as you just did me. I have no idea whether you are stupid or not; I do know that you are using a fake name and posting some really stupid things on this thread -- and directly about me. Thus, don't start whining because I call you out on it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-01-26T15:28:42-06:00
ID
155498
Comment

Brian, the last time I checked Newt Gingrich wasn't on the Jackson City Council or running for any elective office. But I can't necessarily disagree with the broader view you are taking on the issue. I get what you are saying. I was talking about the immigrant group who wants this ordinance. They have a special interest in protecting illegal immigrants from detection. I don't believe it will actually do anything is the reason I believe it's pandering. While we may have no ordinance against racial profiling, I would guess that it's probably against police department policy. So, I don't believe a police officer is going to admit to stopping someone only because of their race. That officer will simply cite some other reason. But if our illustrious council thinks it will help the JPD in some way focus on good police work instead of a short cut that doesn't really work, then I really see no harm in passing it.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-01-26T16:03:25-06:00
ID
155502
Comment

WMartin, you should probably keep checking on Gingrich, because he may well run for president in 2012. Regardless, he is certainly a politician, both because of his history and because he is a leader of the Republican Party. With respect, I don't think your argument here holds much water. If the police are determined to ignore the directions of the City Council, then that means anyone who supports the proposal is pandering? That they aren't sincere in what they propose? That it's merely political theater? On the contrary, my guess is that MIRA is completely sincere. Moreover, there's something a little strange about disparaging MIRA because the police may undermine the law.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-01-26T16:35:04-06:00
ID
155506
Comment

I am sure you are right that MIRA is completely sincere. I also believe the law is silly and un-enforceable and may well already be a police department policy (to not racially profile). What would you call passing a law that won't do anything for the favor of a special interest group? I call it pandering. That is not to say that I think the police stopping people only because they are of a certain race is a good thing or effective policing.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-01-26T17:46:56-06:00
ID
155508
Comment

Think about the fantastic logic of this proposed ordinance- MIRA wants a law to protect people that, by their very presence here, are law breakers to begin with. Makes perfect sense (to some, I suppose)

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2010-01-26T18:39:25-06:00

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