Biased based policing

Matters surrounding racial discrimination in America and more specifically racial profiling in the country have not only been volatile but have also been highly visible. Following several prominent racial profiling allegations in 1990s, several practitioners and academics of law enforcement made a lot of efforts in understanding better and dealing with the policing behavior that is biased based, and alter the perceptions of the society resulting from the police agencies behaviors. For several years, the police agencies in America have practiced biased policing and it would not be in order for anyone to imply that the police behaviors are as a result of limited resources of the potential law breakers. Racial profiling is basically founded on the principle of unethical and illegal for officers of law enforcement to stop, search, detain, or arrest someone solely based on the individuals race citizenship, nationality origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Several groups of civil rights state that officers of police applying prejudice that is misguided believe that the probability of the minorities committing crimes is much higher as compared to the rest of society members. This belief makes such law enforcement officers to carry out traffic stops and search the vehicles being driven by the minorities (Roberts, 1999).

Biased based or racial profiling policing
Crimes can be committed by anyone regardless of his or her citizenship, nationality origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation. It is therefore totally out of order for the police officers to assume that the minorities are more likely to commit crimes and thus subject them to more policing as compared to the rest of the population. Unfortunately, this has been the case not only in America but also in several other nations allover the world. This mode of policing, results to the arrest and detention of the minorities, not because they have committed any crime, but simply because the police officers have been made to believe that the minorities can commit more crimes as compared to the rest of the population. While perpetrating this form of unfair practice on the minorities, it would not be in order for the law enforcement officers to hide under the argument of limited resources of the minorities (Forman, 2004).

Even though most of the minorities have limited resources and their chances of making a good living are also limited, there are some of them who do not have limited resources. However, this has not spared them from biased policing behavior of the law enforcement officers. This is a clear case showing that the racial profiling behavior of police officers is not as a result of limited resources of the minorities but as a result of prejudice against the minorities. If there were no such prejudice, then the wealthy minorities would have escaped unnecessary search, stops, arrests and detentions. One can therefore not argue that the police officers usually behave in the manner in which they do because of the limited resources of the minorities that makes them to commit crimes. Furthermore, there are majorities who just like the minorities have limited resources and are rarely or never subjected to such form of harassment. Again, if such harassment were to be justified on the grounds of resource limitation, then the majorities with limited resources could also be going through similar police harassments as the minorities. But because this is not the case, then it is quite evident that the police officers do actually practice biased based form of policing (Bass, 2001).

Biased policing behavior is widely practiced within regions that are predominantly occupied by the majority. If a minority is found by a police officer in such a neighborhood, then the minority will most probably be stopped, searched, questioned and perhaps be detained for further interrogation. In such a move, the police officer does not only consider the race of the minority, but also the neighborhood in which the minority was in. It is not illegal for a minority to live or even to be found in white dominated neighborhoods and therefore this should not by any chance constitute a reason for arresting the minority. Other reasons such as being in possession of an illegal firearms or illegal drugs could be used as a basis of such stopping and arrest. If on the other hand the police officer was patrolling neighborhoods that are mainly dominated by the minorities and found a white, the chances of the police officer stopping such a person and questioning him or her are very limited. The police officer will most likely not consider the probable intentions of such a white because they also could be malicious such as purchasing drugs from such communities. Due to the fact that the white in the minority neighborhood escapes police prejudgments and subsequent harassment usually subjected to the minorities found in the white dominated neighborhoods is a clear testimony of biased based policing that is used to oppress the minorities. Just like in the previous case where it was not in order to argue that the prejudice against the minorities is as a result of their limited resources, the same argument cannot be used in justifying the harassment that is underwent by the minorities found in the neighborhoods dominated by the whites (Banks, 2003).

In most cases, when the minorities are stopped, searched, arrested and detained, there is no standard that is used to warrant harassments. Should there be standard grounds upon which an individual can be stopped by police officers and searched or even arrested, the reason of arresting someone on the basis of his or her citizenship, nationality origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation should not arise at all. Biased based policing have made the police officers to believe that the minorities because of one reason or the other are at a higher chance of committing crimes as compared to the rest of the population. As a result, most minorities face a lot of harassments from the police officers. They are stopped, searched and arrested or detained without reasonable grounds on the part of the officers to make such a move. In such a case, the only grounds that are used by the police officers in arresting these people is simply because they are minorities which is itself not a crime or an adequate reason to call for such harassment. The limitation or surplus of resources cannot be used as a reasonable ground for the law enforcement officers in determining the people to be or not to be arrested (Risse, 2007).

Police stops and checks on the highways is one of the main areas where the minorities have faced a lot of biased policing from the law enforcers. It has been noted that most of the drivers who are stopped on the highways are those who belong to the minority communities. The main intention of the random car stops along the highways is to ensure that there are no drugs or other illegal substances and items are being ferried through the use of such vehicles. Whereas it is possible for both the minorities and the majorities to use vehicles to ferry illegal commodities using vehicles, it is only the minorities who are mostly stopped for their vehicles to be searched. This behavior by the police is thus biased against the minorities because the vehicles should be stopped and checked randomly regardless of whether they belong to the majority or the minority. This behavior by the police and other law enforcers cannot be said to be as a result of the limited resources of the minorities but as a result of the prejudice the law enforcers have on the minorities (Ramirez et al, 2003).

It is constitutional for the police officers to obtain a court order and search anyones house or any other place of residence of an individual provided there are reasonable grounds for such searches. However, the houses of the minorities are usually searched without any reasonable grounds. The only reason for these searches, which as expected is denied by the law enforcers, is because they are the minority. This mode of policing is biased since in the same manner the minorities can hide illegal items in their houses is the same way through which the majority can also hide such items. However, due to the racial and other forms of differences between the minorities and the rest of the population, the minorities are forced to face several forms of harassments from the law enforcers unlike the other members of the society. These legitimate but biased police searches are therefore unethical and can never be justified by the limited resources of the minorities, which make the police officers perceive the minorities as criminals (Lever, 2007).

Everyone is entitled to protection by the police officers there should therefore be a similar ratio of police officers in the white dominated neighborhoods as those in the neighborhoods that are dominated by the minorities. Unfortunately, this is not the case as more police are found within the white dominated communities compared to the regions that are dominated by the minorities. This therefore means that the whites receive more protection compared to the minorities. It is out of order for someone to argue that because the minorities have limited resources then they should be less protected. This is yet another police behavior that leads to policing that is biased (Bass, 2001).
While under arrest, all suspects of the same crime category should be treated in the same manner and citizenship, nationality origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation should not be under any circumstances be used as a means of determining the nature of treatment one is going to receive while in the hands of the law enforcers. This is never the case as the minorities are subjected to harsher conditions as compared to the whites. They are usually treated as worse criminals compared to the whites basically due to the color difference on their skins. This is a major violation of an individuals rights because all people should be treated in a similar manner by the law enforcers. But due to policing that is biased, the minorities usually finds themselves subjected to different treatments compared to the whites. This is an unethical behavior among the law enforcers, which cannot be justified by the shallow explanations of limited resources on the part of the minorities (Forman, 2004).

Just as it is possible for the minorities to commit a variety of crimes so can the whites. Crimes are not only committed by those with limited resources, they are also committed by those with surplus resources. Therefore, when the law enforcers such as the police officers are carrying out their duties of ensuring that all neighborhoods are safe, they should not only focus on the minorities because they do not have as much influence as the majority. They should instead dwell more on reasonable grounds for suspecting whether a person is in possession of items that are illegal. Furthermore, nowadays, the societies do not only face the blue collar crimes, they also face white collar crimes that are perpetrated by the respected members of the society especially those in big offices. Most of the people who commit white collar crimes are the whites since they are the same people who can manage to be in high offices and thus have the chance of committing these types of crimes. But due to the biased policing carried out by the law enforcers, they tend to concentrate more on the blue collar crimes since they believe that they are mainly committed by the minorities (Banks, 2003).
Currently, the issue of terrorism has raised a lot of concerns among several communities around the world. There is also a wide belief that terrorism is highly linked to the Islamic faith and it is hence perpetrated by Muslims or people originating from the Muslim world. As a result, such people have in the recent few years become victims of biased policing. The law enforcers have a lot of prejudice on such individuals since they believe that the likelihood of them being in possession of illegal weapons or illicit drugs is very high. Just like in the other discussed instances, it is also possible for other people especially the whites since they are aware that they are not likely to be stopped and searched to be in possession of such illegal items. It is therefore not fair to stop someone on the highway or raid his or her house and carryout a search only because such a person is a Muslim, comes from the Muslim world or is a minority. There is no sensible argument that can justify the behavior of biased based policing in the pretence of limited resources of the minorities (Roberts, 1999).

Biased policing is not only unethical but it is also a police behavior that is outdated and is a great drawback in the fight against racial discrimination. The perceptions of this mode of policing should therefore be improved if the agencies of law enforcement are to develop trust relationships between themselves and the societies they serve. Developing effective tools and systems to respond and prevent policing that is based on bias can greatly assist the law enforcers in maintaining mutual respect and trust. Several agencies of law enforcement have already implemented practices of community policing by working with all the key stakeholders including the societies they serve. This is very essential in addressing the perceptions and allegations of biased policing.


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