Local News

ACLU urges NC racial profiling victims to come forward

Posted September 18, 2012

— The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking drivers who believe they are the victims of racial profiling by police officers to come forward and tell their stories.

The group posted two forms on its website – a general complaint form and a checkpoint complaint form – asking possible victims of racial profiling to document their experiences to help lobby state legislators or, if necessary, to file lawsuits.

The request was prompted by a 2012 study released by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor analyzing data recorded from more than 13 million traffic stops in the state.

The study reported that Latinos are 96 percent more likely than whites to have their vehicles searched during a traffic stop, while blacks are 77 percent more likely to be searched than whites.

Several drivers from different parts of the state spoke Tuesday about their personal experiences with local police.

"I've been pulled over for no reason at all. I've been dragged out of my vehicle. I've been handcuffed, humiliated, harassed," said driver Lelynd Darkes. "I feel like my voice is the voice of thousands of young African-American men."

Darkes says he has been stopped four times in the past year and a half and searched when he has broken no laws.

The Rev. Charles Robinson says he was dropping off a parishioner after church when an officer pulled in behind him. Robinson asked the officer why he was stopped.

"He made the comment that two black men sitting in a car looked suspicious to him," Robinson said.

Reginald Woods said a Durham police officer stopped him for no reason as well. 

"I had asked him for his name and badge number. Then I grabbed my pen, and he tased me," Woods said.

According to a letter from the Durham Police Department's internal affairs division, it investigated and agreed Woods' stop was not warranted. However, a police spokesman said "no facts have been presented to the Durham Police Department which would indicate that this matter is related to racial profiling."

Like many departments across the state, the Raleigh Police Department has a non-biased policing policy, which states that race and someone's ethnic background has no role in a decision to stop or search a vehicle.

"The department has a process in place to handle complaints about any aspect of its services, and the public is encouraged to contact us with any concerns," Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a statement.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • blacklivesmatter Sep 20, 2012

    It's amazing to me that people who have never been racially profiled feel that because it hasn't happened to them it necessarily hasn't happened to anyone else. Racial profiling is a reality and any person of color knows it because we've experienced it. The only way it usually gets attention is when it happens to someone who actually was breaking the law. That is because for them, they have to go to court and thus the judge hears about when determining the reason for the stop was valid. For all the people who had to go through the degradation of having their privacy invaded with searches of their person and property and nothing was found, no legal process is started and thus we never hear about it. Even if they file a complaint with the police, nothing usually comes of it. Of note to me is all the people who posted that they were stopped for traffic violations and were given a citation; none of them said that the officers asked to search or decided to search their vehicle...

  • workinghuman33 Sep 20, 2012

    I am so sick of this! If you break our laws, as in being in this country illegally then you need to be prosecuted or be deported period. If they've had children here under the age of 18, send them back with their parents.Those children can return and show their birth certificates in the future if they'd like to. The millions of illegal immigrants are taxing our economy, heath care system, school systems, etc., etc. Sure there's racial profiling. After 911 why wouldn't you have profiled Middle Eastern people, Saudi Arabians were the ones that bombed the twin towers. I agree with whoever said if you're white in a all black neighborhood you'll probably get profiled. If you are just visiting a friend and not by buying drugs then off you go on your merry way. LEO are trying to do their jobs by enforcing laws that are in place and are now being ignored.

  • kermit60 Sep 19, 2012

    How much attention and support from any organization would a white person get if he claimed to be profiled by a black officer. He would probably gain the rath of these same organizations claiming he was a racist just trying to make the officer look bad. Racism is more promminent today than 20 years ago because just like health care it is being shoved down our throats even though we don't want it.

  • Realthoughts Sep 19, 2012

    lopo, you are right, I am surprised WRAL allowed you post in that you are asking the NAACP to do something for the community instead of themselves.

  • Realthoughts Sep 19, 2012

    lopo you are right, when is the NAACP going to take action in their own communities and works towards reducing crime. When is the NAACP going to ask people to take responsibility and work towards reducing crime?

  • Realthoughts Sep 19, 2012

    So when I page through the Wake County and Durham arrest photos and the majority of pictures is of a particular race it makes me wonder are more crimes being committed by this race or is every law enforcement officer profiling.

  • Realthoughts Sep 19, 2012

    Well said lopo. If the NAACP would spend more time in the black communities marching to unite black communities on trying to reduce crime and promote programs that help do so, there would not be any need for racial profiling.

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 19, 2012

    "He knew his neigborhoods ... He said 99% of the time he was right" - lopo

    Those are cases (i.e. seasoned cop, familiar with his beat) where I think racial profiling actually works. Sure, some innocents will be caught in the net, but the overall good is catching criminals. The biggest problem is that some cops don't just check them out while profiling, but they actually harass them. If the person is legitimate, there's no need to handcuff, tase, etc.

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 19, 2012

    "WRAL....race baiting again." - Realthoughts

    News is news, whether the subject is race, politics, sports, etc.

    "I urge anyone else who has not been racially profiled to step forward." - dmccall

    That's not needed. They can just use the records and assume they weren't.

    However, I'm sure a lot of people will claim profiling when that wasn't the case. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but some automatically play the race card no matter what the circumstance.

  • lopo Sep 19, 2012

    You would figure the NAACP would address issues in their community and challege them to work for an education and better life. That way there would be no need for racial profileing.