Article Title

African Americans and Racial Profiling by U.S Law Enforcement: An Analysis of Police Traffic Stops and Searches of Motorists in Nebraska. 2002-2007


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The purposes of this paper are to discuss the history of racial profiling; analyze the courts’ positions on the topic; define racial profiling; review related literature on the theme; analyze Nebraska’s law enforcement data between 2002 and 2007; draw appropriate conclusion and in the end make policy recommendations. It tests the hypothesis that race is a predictor or determinant of who (which motorist) and passengers the police in Nebraska would stop, search, arrest, detain or prosecute. Empirical data available is expected to show that there exists strong evidence that there is disparity in police stops, searches, arrests and detentions, and prosecutorial decisions and actions based on race. Put succinctly, more black (African American) motorists will be stopped, searched, arrested, detained and prosecuted because of their race than their white counterparts. The paper concludes that high incidents of arrest of minorities (black/African American, Hispanic and Native Americans) in comparison to their white counterparts in Nebraska was driven by targeted racial profiling (biased law enforcement) initiated by the Drug Enforcement Agency in its “operation pipeline” which had nothing to do with the propensity of members of minority groups to commit crime at a higher rate than whites in similarly situated positions. This disparate and stereotypical method of law enforcement or crime fighting was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme in the famous landmark case, Whren V. U.S.A (1996) thereby expanding much further, police latitude, pretext, and discretionary power of law enforcement. The study, recommends serious reform of the law enforcement establishment to include, public education, community policing, sensitivity training, race-based diversity recruitment and information gathering to improve law enforcement as well as enhance community-police relations in the state of Nebraska and beyond