Report: Over 1/3 of Louisiana police departments lack guidance on racial profiling

September 20, 2018 - 5:19 pm

(WWL.com) - The Southern Poverty Law Center is sounding the alarm over a new report that shows more than one third of Louisiana law enforcement agencies do not have policies that address racial profiling. Deputy Legal Director Lisa Graybill says it’s a troubling discovery.

"It's a failure for both officers and the community," said Graybill. "Officers are not getting guidance on how to insure their behavior stays within the parameters of the constitution and the community is subject to over policing." 
 
SPLC defines racial profiling as either unreasonable suspicion, when officers assume without evidence that a minority is committing a crime, and unequal enforcement, when officers are more likely to stop minorities for crimes than whites.
 
But she says it’s not necessarily being done out of malice. Greybill notes that after surveying law enforcement statewide, they discovered that many offices just weren’t familiar with what those policies were, and how they help lead to fair policing.
 
"The departments that are lacking appropriate policies are doing so out of lack of exposure, lack of awareness, lack of familiarity, which of course doesn't excuse that the burden is on them." 
 
Graybill says the Bernice Police Department in Union Parish said they have no written policies on racial profiling, because they do not racially profile.
 
According to the SPLC, two-thirds of the Gretna's arrests in 2016 were black people, but only one-third of the city's population. The Gretna Police Department does not have a racial profiling policy. 

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