Maryland Attorney General Recommends New Racial Profiling Guidelines
Racial Profiling Guidelines are the First Based on FBI Suggestions
Maryland’s attorney general recommended restraints on police profiling in August 2015 intended to prevent any image of discrimination during crime investigations.
The new guidelines from Attorney General Brian E. Frosh are likely to influence profiling policies in other areas of the United States as police grapple with accusations of racism against African Americans.
Frosh said in his guidance memorandum that police must remain neutral on profiling issues of race, national origin and religion unless they are directly related to apprehending a criminal suspect.
Frosh’s guidelines are not enforceable as regulations. They merely affirm that ethnic or religious profiling not necessary for investigations could violate rights in the U.S. and Maryland constitutions.
We believe that this standard will provide an important measure of fairness and respect for members of all these groups, while improving the environment in which law enforcement conducts its work, Frosh said in a statement for his press conference.
Local police departments have the option of adopting the guidelines to make them enforceable rules within their own organizations. Several police chiefs have hinted they would follow the guidelines.
Frosh’s announcement this week makes Maryland the first state to develop local guidelines that follow a federal policy on racial profiling released in December 2014.
The policy forbids the FBI from considering race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity when deciding whether to open an investigation. Racial profiling also is banned in national security cases for the first time under the policy.
Frosh called discriminatory profiling crude and often unfair.
Ending discriminatory profiling does not require law enforcement to ignore or reject bona fide leads and credible intelligence, his memo says. It does require police to rely only upon information that is trustworthy and is relevant to the investigation of a specific offense, organization, or crime scheme.