Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) held a press conference today to introduce the “End Racial Profiling Act of 2013.”
Representatives from the NAACP and black law enforcement groups were also on hand for the discussion.
A similar piece of legislation had been introduced since 2001. In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, supporters of the bill feel this is the best time for it to be passed.
Zimmerman was charged with the second degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He argued self-defense and pleaded not guilty. A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of all charges.
“It is the right thing to do,” Sen. Cardin said. “It is against the values of America to single out a person because of race.”
Cardin said racial profiling “creates fear, anger and mistrust.”
“Everyone realizes that the overwhelming number of police are perfectly excellent officers,” Rep. Conyers said. “We are proud of that.”
“Training of law enforcement will help…and will trickle down to neighborhood watch groups,” NAACP representative Hilary Shelton said, noting that police training would be funded through this bill.
Cardin added that Trayvon Martin would be alive today if he was not racially profiled. “He was identified solely by what he looked like.”
“Trayvon was profiled ans assumed to be up to no good by a neighborhood volunteer,” Margaret Huang of the Rights Working Group said. “Then after his death he was racial[ly] profiled again by the Sanford police department. They concluded that Trayvon was the perpetrator of a crime.”
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