June 11, 2014

Assembly Approves Measure to End Racial Profiling in New York State

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined today with Assemblymen Keith Wright and Joseph Lentol to announce the passage of legislation (A.2941) prohibiting law enforcement officers from using racial and ethnic profiling as a pretext for stopping, questioning, or "frisking" an individual where there is no reasonable suspicion that would otherwise justify such conduct.

"Racial profiling is an unconstitutional and intolerable stain that, for too long, has eroded trust between law enforcement officers and the communities that they serve," Speaker Silver said. "In order to truly build safe, trustworthy communities, we must be proactive. Today's legislation takes a significant step toward our ultimate goal of creating peaceful, just and thriving neighborhoods by ensuring that law enforcement officers only stop and question people based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, rather than the color of their skin or their ethnicity."

"Racial profiling is deeply entrenched in law enforcement practices across this state. The NYPD has been reproached for their demoralizing use of stop-and-frisk and for the havoc it has caused in Communities of Color throughout the City of New York. Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit ruled these practices unconstitutional but we need to go a step further to root out systemic discrimination. For over ten years, I have championed this bill in the Assembly and today, once again, we look to the Senate to do the right thing for New Yorkers and pass this legislation."

"Racial profiling is an unjustifiable practice that not only severs a community but also wastes law enforcement resources by diverting attention away from actual, rather than perceived, criminal activity," Lentol said. "It is unfortunate that in 2014 we still have to have this conversation and pass legislation in order to stop racial profiling, but the Assembly will continue working to make sure that all New Yorkers are able to walk down their street or drive to work without fear of being stopped and questioned because of the color of their skin."

The bill includes provisions that would prohibit police officers from using racial and ethnic profiling during the performance of their duties by: