May 16, 2005 – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) on Thursday applauded the state Assembly for passing legislation that requires a study of racial profiling by law enforcement officers.
Between July 1, 2006 and March 1, 2007, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will record data from each traffic stop, including the numbers of person stopped; their race, color, ethnicity, gender and age; the nature of the alleged violations; whether officers issued citations or made arrests; and, if searches were conducted, the type and legal basis for the searches and whether contraband was discovered, and what property was seized.
The civil liberties group has been pressing the measure since it launched its "Campaign Against Racial Profiling" in January 2000. The bill awaits Governor Phil Bredesen's signature.
Groups such as the ACLU and Amnesty International have been pushing for national legislation to prohibit racial profiling. They argue that the practice violates the 14th Amendment, relies upon racial stereotypes and incorrect assumptions about minority groups, builds distrust between law enforcement and minority communities, and draws attention away from real threats.
Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of ACLU-TN, said in a statement that the group would continue to work with community groups and law enforcement to eliminate racial profiling in Tennessee.