WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, says he wants to end racial and religious profiling carried out by law enforcement officers nationwide.
Alongside the NAACP and the ACLU, Cardin reintroduced the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act, which would ban discriminatory profiling by federal, state and local authorities.
The bill already has 22 co-sponsors and Cardin hopes this time around, the Senate will act to protect minorities. Civil rights advocates joined him on Capitol Hill to call for an end to police profiling.
“Numerous studies have demonstrated that racial and religious profiling is all too prevalent throughout law enforcement today,” the NAACP Washington Bureau’s Hilary Shelton said.
A recent Stanford University study of more than 90 million traffic stops across the U.S. found black drivers are 20 percent more likely to get pulled over than white drivers.
“We want effective policing,” Shelton added. “We want our communities safe and secure.”
But Shelton says discriminatory policing must be addressed, and Cardin’s legislation is a step in the right direction.
“It would be illegal at any level of law enforcement—federal, state, local, auxiliary,” Cardin said.
Cardin’s bill would also provide police departments around the country with resources for training and grant money to develop programs that discourage profiling.
Cardin says he’s heard the stories of racial profiling from his black constituents and, according to him, there is a startling—and chilling—contrast between how black and white families describe their relations with law enforcement.
“The fact that if you were a minority—male particularly—you were much more suspect to be harassed by law enforcement,” Cardin said.
Cardin says his bill should have been passed a long time ago.