In the name of race, NJ Supreme Court handcuffs police (Opinion)
The New Jersey Supreme Court just issued a ruling that further handcuffs law enforcement.
They’ve decided that an officer is not allowed during an investigation to pull over a car based solely on somebody’s race or gender.
Mind you this was not the typical racial profiling that we all think of, where officers have been accused of pulling over somebody who has done little to nothing wrong based solely on their race just to see if anything is going on in the car.
The case that was brought before the New Jersey Supreme Court had to do with the police actively looking for suspects in an armed robbery case who were described as two black males. When they saw people matching this description in a car in the area they pulled them over.
The traffic stop was challenged. And ironically enough, as is so often the case with people who challenge things like this, the men admitted they were guilty.
That fact did not deter our Supreme Court justices from a unanimous ruling.
To be clear, the court is saying that in an investigation you can use race and gender if it is only part of the totality of your reasons to pull over a car. So if, for example, you have a description of a car and it matches the color and it matches the make and model then they can go ahead and conduct a traffic stop.
But is this right? So that you can spare me accusations of white privilege, let’s make this scenario your mom was just mugged by a 30-year-old white male. She saw him get into a car and flee with her money.
She immediately called 911 and an officer was right in that area. One minute later two blocks over he sees a white male driving a car and he’s the only white male in sight. Is it really sound police work to not check this guy out?
The law now says he will not be able to. And how ironic that the very people who brought this case to the New Jersey Supreme Court admitted their guilt but will now face no penalties for being involved in an armed robbery.
Like the media coverage on this says, this is an expansion of protections against profile stops. The bad thing about a profile stop as it’s come to be known is the implicit bias assuming certain ethnicities may be up to certain crimes and therefore pulling people over for no reason just to check them out.
But this ruling affects actual criminal investigations. Where something has actually happened. Where they are trying to actively get a potential criminal into custody.
Profiling may have bad optics but as long as it’s about an actual crime it’s a valid police tool. It’s part of a description. The FBI profiles serial killers. We have psychological profiles for dangerous people.
To leave race out of this just to avoid sensitive feelings is absurd. Will it come down to police not even being able to make race a part of the description of an assailant when taking a police report? Because God forbid someone has their feelings hurt, right?
Just another day in New Jersey justice.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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