Racial Profiling

Holder's Claim He Will End Federal Racial Profiling 'Once and for All' a Great Big Lie


The show must go on … and on … and on …
Credit: Inha Leex Hale / photo on flickr

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder stood up in a church in Atlanta last week and lied right in the faces of everybody there. He said in a speech he would be introducing "rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling, once and for all. This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing."

He is doing no such thing. The Associated Press got sources to tell them what the Department of Justice is planning. They are, indeed, introducing new standards to stop racial profiling, but not in any of the agencies where Americans are mostly likely to be exposed to racial profiling on a regular basis. The Department of Homeland Security will not be affected by the new guidelines:

The official said Friday night that the new guidelines banning racial profiling exempt the Transportation Security Administration and also do not cover inspections at ports of entry and interdictions at border crossings. The official was not authorized to discuss the guidelines by name and spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement expected within the coming days.

The new guidelines apply to federal law enforcement agencies but aren't binding on local police departments that are more likely to have day-to-day contact with community members. Their formulation also long predates high-profile cases, such as the August police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, that have placed police treatment of minorities in the spotlight.

The guidelines would apply to the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to the Associated Press, federal law enforcement agencies are already banned from racial profiling except in cases of national security (and everything is a matter of national security now, so whatever). The new policy bans religion, gender, national origin and sexual orientation.