Changing the Reality of Racial Profiling
In a landmark decision issued yesterday, the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that in light of prevalent racial profiling practices, a Black man who chooses to avoid Boston police officers should not be viewed as suspicious. Such actions may be motivated instead by a simple desire to avoid the “recurring indignity of being racially profiled.”
We applaud the Supreme Judicial Court’s recognition of the realities of racial profiling. The Court has affirmed the inherent dignity of people of color, and the right to be free from constitutional deprivations.
Despite numerous studies and calls for reform, racial profiling remains the norm in Boston and in communities across the country. Just this week, we saw another tragic incident of apparent racial profiling unfold when Terence Crutcher– an unarmed Black man – was killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
At the Lawyers’ Committee, we believe that racial profiling is a practice that can and must be stopped. We are:
- holding law enforcement accountable, as we are doing with our recently-filed racial profiling complaints against the MBTA and the Walpole Police Department.
- pressing for greater police diversity, which is why we have sued the Brookline and Boston police departments, and called on law enforcement to take more aggressive steps to hire and promote officers of color; and
- advocating for the Boston police command staff to wear body cameras.
Racial profiling is a pernicious practice that harms our communities every day. We are committed to eradicating racial profiling practices and we call on police departments to implement comprehensive implicit bias training to educate officers about bias and how to overcome it.
The Lawyers’ Committee’s analysis of the Supreme Judicial Court’s landmark court ruling was featured in the Boston Globe, the Bay State Banner, Banner Beat Radio, BNN News, the Boston Herald and Boston Herald Radio.