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Racial profiling is a concern in Oregon

Unfair racial profiling routinely occurs across the country, and involves traffic stops as well as interrogations on the street.

For many people in Oregon and across the country, racial profiling is a frustrating part of life. In today's society, it is difficult to believe people are still targeted for the color of their skin or their nationality. However, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, this type of profiling occurs on a daily basis. In addition to being pulled over at traffic stops or randomly stopped, interrogated and frisked on the street, people who are racially profiled may even end up in jail or be falsely charged with a crime.

The ACLU says that racial profiling can be humiliating for those who experience it, yet the effects are not only emotional. Targeting someone based on race or color violates constitutional equal rights laws against unreasonable search and seizure. It causes people to be distrustful of law enforcement, gets in the way of justifiable police efforts and may result in an unfair conviction.

Racial profiling commonly occurs during traffic stops

According to The Leadership Conference, statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Justice Statistics show consistent imbalances between racial categories during traffic stops. For example, the following situations are reported to be common:

  • White people are more likely than African-Americans or Hispanics to receive a verbal or written warning instead of a ticket.
  • Whites are less likely to be searched during a traffic stop than Hispanics or blacks.
  • African-Americans' risk of being arrested during a traffic stop is double that of whites.
  • Hispanics are the racial group most likely to be ticketed.

An African-American English professor living in Oregon related his experiences, in which he said he continually felt like he was being profiled for his race. In The Oregonian, he stated that he was pulled over by police nine times in an eight-year period in the same area. Numerous times, he received warnings for such offenses as appearing not to have a seatbelt on or driving too slowly in a 15-mile-per-hour zone. He said that in addition to being asked for his driver's license, proof of insurance and registration, he was also asked by law enforcement to provide proof of employment.

Traffic stops are not the only method by which people are racially profiled, says the ACLU. In some larger cities, the stop-and-frisk method is commonly practiced by law enforcement, and the procedure has spread to other communities across the country. In a survey, nearly all of the people who reported being stopped and searched on the streets were of minority races. Many reported that officers threatened or used physical force during the stops, displayed a weapon, and failed to inform the people why they were being stopped.

Getting help from an attorney

Everyone in Oregon has the right to fair treatment by the court system, regardless of his or her race or color. If you're facing criminal charges, contact an experienced defense attorney to help you protect your rights.

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