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Racial and Bias-Based Profiling in Fresno

Apr 26, 2017 by Mike McKneely in Criminal Defense

Racial profiling is a practice that has gotten a lot of negative attention in the past few years. Unfortunately, this practice is still quite common as police officers focus on certain groups of people who they think appear to be criminals even though there is no solid evidence to that effect.

Racial profiling in the law enforcement field, involves targeting people based primarily on their appearance. Those of a specific race, religion, and skin color may be targeted for “strict” enforcement of traffic laws and other petty offenses that most folks never get contacted about. This is a generalization that does not have anything to do with behavior.

Law enforcement officials generally deny they engage in racial profiling. But even though they have been trained not to, many still have perceptions and biases based on age, gender, and other characteristics.

Specifically, the Fresno Police Department has been accused of racial profiling on numerous occasions. However, the department says these complaints are investigated and that the police officers acted in a legal manner. These departmental investigations are not available for public scrutiny.

If you are ever accused of a crime that you did not commit and believe you were targeted based solely on your appearance, you may be a victim of racial profiling. Seek legal help from an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney with Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Call (559) 443-7442 and discuss the details in a free and confidential consultation.

Bias-Based Profiling Review

It is a stated goal of law enforcement agencies to refrain from engaging in racial and bias-based profiling. In fact, it is prohibited. Here is the Fresno Police Department’s stance:

“The Fresno Police Department does not condone the use of bias-based profiling, as it may lead to constitutional rights violations against the citizens we serve.”

In 2016, the Fresno Police Department received three complaints of racial profiling. The Internal Affairs investigations Department reviewed the complaints.

The department said it reviewed all the evidence – including camera footage – surrounding the three cases, all of which involved traffic stops. It was found that in all three cases that the driver was pulled over legally. No bias on any kind was found.

The Fresno Police Department handled 389,232 events in 2016. Only 0.0007 percent of those events resulted in a complaint of bias-based profiling.

The department found no areas of concern and believes that law enforcement officers are sufficiently following all policies and procedures related to bias-based profiling.

Of course, the department’s stance does not square with the accounts of our clients and many others. The department is not saying that the three people who complained were not targeted by their appearance, they instead say there was probable cause to stop them. We know from experience, however, that most people who commit these sorts of petty traffic offenses are never contacted by the police at all. And of those that are targeted, most do not ever file a complaint with the department because the department’s process is not transparent or accountable to the public.

Issues with Racial Profiling

Racial profiling can cause issues in the community. It can lead to costly civil suits from citizens. It can also make citizens scared of the police and strain relations within the community. This only makes the job of law enforcement harder.

Get Legal Help From a Fresno criminal Defense Lawyer

Racial profiling is common in many areas. Even though the Fresno Police Department has denied that it engages in this activity, it does exist. Many Fresno residents know because it has happened to them.

Getting pulled over or arrested for a crime can be scary, and you should not be subjected to that solely based on age, gender, race, religion, or any factor that does not play a role in determining whether or not you committed a crime. If you believe you lost your constitutional rights because you were unfairly profiled based on race or bias, Fresno criminal defense lawyer Michael McKneely can help you fight your case.

Racial profiling is problematic in many ways. By standing up and defending your rights, you are making it known that law-abiding citizens should not have to face this issue.

Attorney McKneely can face the most complex criminal justice issues head on. Get help with your racial profiling case. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442.

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