Study: Hispanics, African Americans searched more often in NC

Study: Hispanics, African Americans searched more often in NC

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by Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 5:23 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Every day thousands of people are pulled over in North Carolina, but are some treated differently than others?

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking information from people who feel they have been racially profiled by police officers.

On Tuesday the organization held a press conference in Raleigh to highlight a survey it's conducting.

Recently a UNC-Chapel Hill professor conducted a 10-year study of 13 million traffic stops in North Carolina.  He found that African Americans are 77 percent more likely to be searched than Whites and Hispanics are 96 percent more likely.

"I know for a fact that people drive around in fear," said Susana Jerez with the Latin American Coalition.  "I just think there is a fundamental difference with that I'm not breaking any law, yet I know I can still be pulled over.”

The coalition is debating whether to help the ACLU gather the information.

"I think that is going to be a long process.  I can only hope that yes it will make a difference," Jerez said.

The ACLU has forms on its website and is asking victims to give specific details about their experiences. The information could be used to take legal action against those departments that are the worst offenders.   

Feds: NC sheriff's deputies targeted Latinos

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) -- A two-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice has determined a North Carolina sheriff and his deputies routinely discriminated against Latinos. 

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson has been a vocal cheerleader for a federal program that allowed local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of those they stopped, potentially triggering their deportation. The Department of Homeland Security announced this year it was discontinuing the program following widespread complaints of racial profiling. 

The Justice Department determined that Johnson's deputies violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens by illegally targeting, stopping, detaining and arresting Latinos without probable cause. The agency also says Johnson obstructed the federal investigation, with members of his department fearing retaliation if they cooperated. 

A message seeking comment from Johnson received no immediate response Tuesday.
 

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