Imagine yourself driving along on the freeway with your twelve year old son, on are hot Oklahoma day. As the two of you are driving you are stopped by local police, and soon allowed to continue on. But soon thereafter the two of you are stopped again, this time the stop is not so short. The officer asks you to step out of the vehicle so that he may search it for drugs. While your car is being searched you and your son are forced to sit in an extremely hot squad car and wait for two hours until the officers finished searching. The only reason it seemed for the stop was because you were black. If this were you, you are Sergeant First Class Rossano V. Gerald, and were just a victim of what is known as "racial profiling." Some may not be aware of this, but Sergeant First Class Gerald and his son's Fourth Amendment Rights were violated.
In the United States Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment is "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized," (Gaines, Kappeler, p. 5). Racial profiling occurs whenever a law enforcement officer questions, stops, arrests, searches, or otherwise investigates a person because the officer believes that members of that person's racial or ethnic group are more likely to commit the sort of crime the officer is investigating (Gross, Livingston, p. 1415, 2002). Racial profiling often occurred during the late 1960s when police officers would use traffic stops as means for detention of black activists during the civil rights era. However, it has just recently become a "hot" topic in the last ten years. In this paper I will be talking about various court cases involving possible racial profiling, crime statistics that favor the police officers... [continues]
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