Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Racial profiling ban sought

Plan would order police to get data

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        If Cincinnati City Council passes a new proposal to monitor for racial profiling, city police could be tracking racial data on drivers in three weeks.

        The ordinance, introduced Monday, calls racial profiling reprehensible and says it will have “no place in the law enforcement policies and practices of the City of Cincinnati.”

        The proposal would forbid any disparate treatment based on race or ethnicity, and would order officers to record the race, sex and age of all vehicle occupants as well as the location of all traffic stops, any charges filed and if any searches recovered contraband.

        The city, if the ordinance passes, would hire a university or agency to analyze the information. It proposes that officers start collecting the data April 8.

        City officials have discussed racial profiling off and on for years. This debate restarted in earnest after the Nov. 7 death of Roger Owensby Jr., an African-American man who asphyxiated in police custody. Two officers face trials in the death.

        Monday, council members also linked the city's history of problems with losing arbitration cases to the racial profiling issue, saying the city needs to improve its win record against officers who have been disciplined to show the community better accountability.

        In the past five years, the city has lost all 10 cases brought against it by fired police officers.


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