Obama Announces New Racial-Profiling Guidelines

By Julissa Catalan

In the wake of Eric Garner‘s and Michael Brown‘s deaths at the hands of police officers, the Obama administration released new racial-profiling guidelines for U.S. law-enforcement officials on Monday.

The new guidelines are meant to replace the last set, which were put in place by the Bush administration in 2003, closing a loophole that previously allowed profiling for national-security investigations.

The new rules prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion or sexual orientation and apply to federal officers—such as Secret Service agents and the FBI—and any local police officers who participate in taskforce assignments.

For the first time these rules also apply to the Department of Homeland Security—including all Immigration and Customs Enforcement civil immigration enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard law-enforcement activities, Border Patrol activities not near the border, Department of Homeland Security officers protecting government buildings, and federal air marshals.

However, they do not apply to Border Patrol and airport screeners because the “unique nature of border and transportation security as compared to traditional law enforcement” justified the exclusion of those activities.

“As attorney general, I have repeatedly made clear that profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective,” outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“Particularly in light of certain recent incidents we’ve seen at the local level, and the widespread concerns about trust in the criminal-justice process, it’s imperative that we take every possible action to institute strong and sound policing practices.”

According to the document, federal agents can use race to help identify suspects as part of a description, but cannot stereotype an entire group for possible criminal behavior.

The document includes multiple scenarios to help guide officials.

For example, if an officer notices that most cars on a particular road are driving above the speed limit, he or she may not use one of the banned characteristics to choose a car to pull over.

But if the officer receives a bulletin to be on the lookout for a “man of a particular race and particular hair color in his 30s driving a blue automobile,” the officer may pull people over based on those criteria.

Though these new rules have been in the works for five years—and don’t directly apply to local police officers—many are seeing these revisions as a step toward ending racial profiling by law-enforcement officials.

Latest News

Kaiser Permanente building

Kaiser Permanente’s Moanalua Medical Center Receives Women’s Choice Award by WomenCertified Inc.

Originally published at about.kaiserpermanente.org. Kaiser Permanente is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   For the seventh consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center has been named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics by the Women’s Choice Award. Presented by WomenCertified Inc., this evidence-based designation scored Moanalua Medical Center…

ADP Named a Leader in Worldwide Integrated Talent Management, Learning, Performance and Compensation by IDC MarketScapes

Originally published at mediacenter.adp.com. ADP ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   ADP has been named as a Leader in the IDC MarketScapes for Worldwide Integrated Talent Management, Worldwide Learning Management, Worldwide Performance Management and Worldwide Compensation Management 2021 Vendor Assessments. Since…

AT&T on Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 2021

Originally published at about.att.com by Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Consumer. AT&T is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   This Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting and celebrating what makes Hispanic stories so special. We will explore how the vast, diverse and evolving culture of the Hispanic community represents…