End Racial Profiling Now

benjaminjealousBy Benjamin Todd Jealous and Margaret Huang

Originally Posted in The Baltimore Sun, December 7, 2009 The End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) will soon be reintroduced by Rep. John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, and Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin. Numerous incidents throughout American history have taught us that racial profiling not only fails as a law enforcement tool but ultimately makes us all less safe. Passage of ERPA would be an important step toward ending racial profiling. Over a century ago, Leon Czolgosz walked up to President William McKinley with a concealed weapon and shot him. The Secret Service agent assigned to search the president's visitors was focused on a "dark complexioned man" in line behind Czolgosz. Ironically, the same man whose appearance made the agent suspicious - Jim Parker, an African-American former constable - saved President McKinley from a third bullet. In 1995, after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh, the white male assailant, fled while law enforcement officers looked for "Arab terrorists" whom they thought responsible.