Discrimination based on someone’s race or ethnicity is illegal. Both federal and New Jersey laws address this issue. Yet, discrimination continues to occur – including instances of racial profiling.
Racial profiling generally refers to a type of discrimination often done by law enforcement. Police target individuals because of the color of their skin or other personal characteristics.
Targeting based on race is dangerous
Unfortunately, these issues are nothing new for people of color. It is a constant worry for many people. However, that does not detract from the risk of these instances.
Law enforcement officers are not the only ones who subject people to racial profiling. As CNN reports, individuals could face the threat of racial profiling in everyday instances. For example, the article highlights:
- An individual moving into a new house, and neighbors claiming they were involved in an armed robbery
- Customers shopping in a department store and facing accusations of theft
These incidents are clearly discriminatory, but they also involve serious risk. CNN indicates individuals could suffer a significant amount of stress, but they could also face very real criminal charges. Even if individuals do not break the law in any way, racial profiling could result in them facing charges and put their records in jeopardy.
How to respond
If police – or someone who calls the police – racially profile an individual, they could face serious charges for something they did not do. And even facing charges could put one’s record and livelihood at risk.
Since racial profiling is illegal in New Jersey, it is possible for individuals who were targeted and now face charges to take legal action. In these cases, it is critical to:
- Know your rights, such as the protection against unreasonable search and seizure
- Understand New Jersey’s policy regarding racial profiling by police
- Document all the details of the incident you can remember, even if they seem minor
- Seek legal defense and guidance to protect your future
Unfortunately, racial profiling remains a serious and systemic problem. However, individuals can still protect themselves and their rights against its dangerous effects.