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Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement

George is a college student in North Carolina. Every weekend, he drives into Georgia to visit his family. George's family is well-respected and are influential members of their community. They are wealthy enough to give George a good education and supply him with an upscale, flashy, and expensive automobile.

George is very religious, has extremely high ethics, but is also an eccentric and unique individual. He does not follow the trends in clothing or personal presentation. He has long hair, a flashy car, and wears "hippie" attire. Every time he travels through the northern counties of Georgia, he is either stopped by the Georgia Highway Patrol or the local sheriff's office. They stop him because he fits the profile of a drug dealer.

The Georgia Highway Patrol and the local sheriff's office have policies and procedures pertaining to drug trafficking. The highway that George is traveling is known as a "drug pipeline."

Do you think these repetitive stops are reasonable? Why or why not?

What would be the reasoning behind the stops? Explain.

If these stops are based on policy and procedure in your state, what would the major in the Georgia Highway Patrol and the sheriff of the local county say to officers who did not stop George? Explain.

If the patrol had a field training officer (FTO), and you were a new recruit, how would you react if the FTO said "just skip him"?

On his last trip home, George passed a large city, and the highway patrol stopped him. This officer carried tools and a battery-powered screwdriver. He proceeded to take George's car apart, piece by piece. When he did not find drugs, this officer just drove off, leaving George stranded. It was found that this officer just received a commendation for the highest amount of drug busts on this highway.

Should he be put up as an example of a good leader to follow for other drug officers? Why or why not? Explain your rationale.

Solution Preview

Do you think these repetitive stops are reasonable? Why or why not?

I do not believe that these repetitive stops are reasonable because there is no probable cause for stopping George outside of the police officer's hunch or personal bias toward individuals who do not fit their profile of normal. This is blatant and unabashed profiling that is considered a violation of the citizens' 14th amendment right for fair and equal treatment under the Constitution of the United States.

What would be the reasoning behind the stops? Explain.

The justification behind such stops is always mired in a veneer of supposed justice, but the real reasons are typically more sinister. Officers are products of their environment and culture wherein they develop similar biases and prejudices as all people who identify with their own culture or upbringing. Therefore, these officers in Georgia most probably are subscribers to a conservative faux religious culture that views certain people as more prone to criminal activity than the people within their communities that they identify with. As a result someone who has out of state tags and fits their personal profile of a person prone to criminal activity they have no qualms for stopping this person even without probable cause or justification. The only reasoning for this stop is that the person is of a different culture foreign to them wherein they have posited that people ...

Solution Summary

This solution offers the student an outline of the fallacies and inequalities associated with racial profiliing in police departments.

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