TMZ reported that MC Hammer was arrested yesterday for obstructing an officer, but he paints a story of racial profiling by the police ... claiming an officer pulled out his gun and randomly asked him, "Are you on parole or probation?" "Racial Profiling" refers to the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual's race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. In response to a high number of reports of racial profiling in Minneapolis and surrounding areas, the Council on Crime and Justice Institute on Race and Poverty decided to do a study to futher understand this issue.
The Minnesota Racial Profile Study examined traffic stop data collected by the sixty-five law enforcement jurisdictions that voluntarily participated in a racial profiling study. The largest absolute differences between actual and expected stops and searches for Blacks and
Latinos were found in Minneapolis, the largest jurisdiction participating in this study with the
highest number of traffic stops. In Minneapolis, Blacks were stopped 152% more often than
expected and once stopped, subjected to discretionary searches 52% more often than expected.
11% of searches of Blacks produced contraband compared to 13% of searches of Whites. If
Minneapolis officers had stopped Blacks at the same rate as other drivers approximately 12,804
fewer Blacks would have been stopped in Minneapolis in 2002.
These patterns suggest a very strong and convincing likelihood that racial/ethnic bias does plays a role in traffic stop policies and practices in Minnesota. The same is true for the searches that result from thesestops. Taken together, these patterns warrant serious examination. It is fair to conclude that the problems that they suggest are not isolated to a handful of jurisdictions or present only in those jurisdictions that chose to participate in this study.