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Opinion: Racial Profiling Of Young Men Of Color An Issue That Must Be Addressed





Cynthia D. Mares
Hispanic National Bar Association

As attorneys, Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) lawyers have a responsibility to ensure that our legal system is just, that police officers who use undue force are held accountable, and that broken policies such as lack of training and lack of accountability are fixed before any more tragedies happen. Moreover, fundamental civil and human rights must be protected.
Recent events, like those in Ferguson, demonstrate that we as a country have not made much progress since the Rodney King tragedy many years ago. Every day, not only African Americans, but also Latinos, are racially profiled by police. According to 2010 Bureau of Justice statistics, while crime rates were equal, African-American men were six times as likely, and Latinos three times as likely, to be imprisoned than their white counterparts.
In 2007, Pew Hispanic reported that, “Latinos accounted for 40 percent of all sentenced federal offenders — more than triple their share (13 percent) of the total U.S. adult population.” This is likely in response to increasing immigration enforcement by local police, and we have learned from experience that immigration enforcement is also rife with racial profiling.
In August 2013, federal judge Ruben Castillo wrote that there was a “strong showing of potential bias” by police profiling of Blacks and Latinos in Chicago drug cases. In Texas, Latino judges have been stopped by police based on “Mexican appearance” alone.  Considering this bias, it is no surprise that along with so many young Black men, young Latino men have also been shot and killed by police under questionable circumstances.
In this case, the HNBA is concerned with the process chosen by the prosecutor, and calls on the federal government to investigate further. The HNBA, through its presence in cities across the nation, stands ready to assist community organizations to ensure that no member in our community is a victim of ….
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