The United States Justice Department has enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five American cities.
The team is expected to recommend strategies to address the problem nationally.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder initiated the program prior to leaving office, noting that the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri highlighted the need for this long-planned initiative.
He also explained that the three-year project could be a “silver lining” if it helps ease racial tensions and “pockets of distrust that show up between law enforcement and the communities that they serve.”
The five cities have not officially been selected yet, but the researchers involved in the project say they are bringing a holistic approach that involves training police officers on issues of racial bias, data analysis, and interviews with community members.
They expect to review police behavior in the cities in order to build community trust and create an evidence-based model that can be applied more broadly.
Problematically, a 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general’s office found that Ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as often as white motorists, but were less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.
Many people have similar worries in areas of New Jersey like Camden and Newark, which are known for being high crime areas where officers notoriously stop countless black individuals for drug-related crimes, disorderly conduct, and similar criminal offenses.
Mr. Holder tellingly revealed, “If you get stopped for a traffic stop and feel that you are treated courteously and fairly, you are much more likely to accept the fact that you got a speeding ticket.”
Depending on the way an officer interacts with you, many times we can feel violated or verbally abused. However, if we respond in kind by raising our voices or becoming hostile, that only gives the officer more fodder to search your car, arrest you, and throw more criminal charges your way.
The best way to handle an interaction with an officer when you feel abused is to stay calm, remain silent, and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you beat the charges against you.
If recently were charged with a crime in New Jersey, contact Rosenblum Law today at 888-815-3649.