I think there is some racial profiling that goes on in law enforcement. There is a lot of overall profiling. In other words, they’re not just looking at the color of your skin, and if they see that you’re a white guy, they’ll let you go, and if you’re black, they’ll stop you and question you. It’s not so much like that.
They’ll consider a number of things. Are you driving an old, cluttered and dirty, beat up car? Do you have tattoos and piercings, long hair and a scruffy face (if you’re male)? Are you wearing a wife-beater? They target these types of people, because they’re more likely to get an arrest or at least a citation out of them. Sometimes these individuals happen to be black, and sometimes they’re white.
For speeders, everyone knows they target the bright-colored sports cars. If a soccer mom is driving her navy blue minivan 15 over the speed limit, and some guy is driving his red corvette 12 over, they’re more likely to nab the corvette, even though he was driving slower than the soccer mom.
It doesn’t always work out like this. Yes, soccer moms get pulled over for speeding too. But police use these overall profiling tactics, especially in cases where they’ve set up a “security” checkpoint and are checking drivers “at random.” This type of profiling is of course totally unconstitutional, in direct violation of the 4th Amendment. You should be allowed in the eyes of the law to be as crusty as you want. If you want to drive an old beat up pickup truck, wear a wife-beater, and not wash your hair, that should be your prerogative without having to submit to the harassment of paranoid and overzealous cops. None of those things constitutes probable cause that a crime has been committed, sufficient enough to obtain a search warrant or even to be detained.
But the media try to turn this into a racial problem. If a civilian is involved in a cop shooting, the media first make sure that the suspect is not white. If he is, then forget it, it’s not news. If the suspect is black, then it can be spun as being another “racially-motivated” shooting. But sometimes they forget to make sure the cop was white. That’s really the only types of officer-involved shootings we here about in the national media. Those where the suspect is black, and the cop is white.
In this particular case, two black guys were pulled over in New Jersey for running a stop sign, and because one of the cops spotted a gun in the glove compartment, things quickly escalated and the black cop shot and killed one of the black suspects. And CNN wondered if this was “racially-motivated.”
I’m sure CNN is done with this case, after realizing that it was a black cop killing a black suspect. All of a sudden, it’s not news anymore, and they’re sorry they ever brought I up. Here’s the dashcam video of the encounter:
It’s difficult to ascertain why exactly the cop shot the passenger, other than the fact that he got out of the car. He didn’t have the gun on him. He kept his hands where the cop could see them, but the cop still didn’t want to take any chances and shot the guy several times, killing him.
This is absolutely nothing new. The fact is that the police will always be given the benefit of the doubt when they overreact and kill someone, a perk (and an incentive) that civilians don’t have. There’s no reason to turn this into a “racial” problem. It’s clear that the cop didn’t care that the guy was black. He cared that he was a civilian with a gun.