Racial profiling in law enforcement is the practice of stopping, searching, or arresting a suspect based on racial characteristics on the assumption that members of minority racial or ethnic groups are more likely to commit certain crimes. There is general agreement that race alone cannot be a basis for a stop or search but that race can be considered where one’s race matches a description of a perpetrator. There is sharp division, however, on the question of whether limited use of race should be permitted in the assessment of cause to stop, search, or arrest, and on the appropriate benchmarks for determining whether statistical disparities are explainable by nonracial factors.

Historical Context

Racial profiling is a relatively recent formulation of race-based practices, of which there is a ...

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