tv [untitled] May 2, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
continuing this discussion because it's going to turn on more than just the legislators or the department of justice and i'm with you in improving some of their recommendations, and i commend eric holder for the enormous job he has been doing in the capacity. but it is a part of american history. the one thing that i wanted to contribute here --
objects specific or incident specific. [ technical difficulties ] >> we're not trying to take the description of race out of law enforcement and its administration. what we're saying that racial profile i profiling must not be subject specific or incident specific. and that's why we're trying to do here today. it's a practice that is hard to root out. i join in praising the overwhelming majority of law enforcement men and women who want to improve this circumstance, but you know, one of the greatest riots, race
riots in detroit that occurred was because of a police incident was started. we have in detroit right now a coalition against police brutality, ron scott, an activi activist and law student is working on that, had been working there for years. and so we encourage not thoenl legislative discussion about an important subject, and we praise our civil rights organizations that have been so good at this. the naacp, the legal defense fund of naacp, the american
civil liberty unis union -- civil liberties union and community and state organizations that have all been working on this just as we have and are. so i believe that there's going to be a time very soon when we will pass the legislation that you've worked on in the house and the senate and that we will enjoy that day forward, but we will celebrate this movement forward to take the discussion of race out of our national conversation not because we're sick and tired of it but because it's not needed any further. i thank you very much for this invitation. >> congressman conyers, it's an
honor to have you in the senate judiciary committee hearing. i thank you very much. our next witness is my friend and illinois colleague congressman luis gutierrez who represents the fourth congressional district and has done so since 1993. he chairs the congressional hispanic caucuses immigration task force. and he's a long-time champion for immigration reform. there are many outstanding hispanic political leaders in america, but none more forceful and more articulate and more of a leader than my colleague, congressman gutierrez. thank you for joining us. >> thank you so much, chairman durbin, ranking member graham, for inviting me to testify here today. i'm one of the -- one of the proudest things i am being in the state of illinois is the senior senator from my state. i'm so happy and delighted to be here with you, senator durbin. i've traveled from coast to coast to visit dozens of cities and communities and to listen to immigrant stories. some of my colleagues have visited their cities that are here with me today. and immigrants tell me that they
are regarded with suspicion. they tell me they are frequently treated differently because of the way they look, sound, or spell their last name. in alabama, i met 20-year-old martha, a young woman raised in the u.s. one late afternoon while driving, she was pulled over. she was arrested for driving without a license and jailed so her status could be checked. because her u.s. citizen husband was not present, their alabama-born 2-year-old son was taken from the back seat of her car and turned over to state welfare agency. in south carolina, i met g abino who has been in the u.s. for nearly 13 years. he's married, fourth of two south carolina-born kids who works hard and owns his own home. gabino was stopped because he was pulling into his mobile home community, one of three other hispanic residents stopped that evening. he was arrested for driving without a license. he was then placed in deportation proceedings. we can all guess why the police chose to stop gabino and martha.
profiling hispanic immigrant is the most efficient way to get someone deported. you can't tell if someone is undocumented by the way they look, dress, or where they live. in chicago, a puerto rican constituent of mine was detained for five days under suspicion of being undocumented. indeed sadly, senators, there are hundreds if not thousands of cases of unlawfully detained u.s. citizens and legal residents in the united states each year in violation of their constitutional rights. some of them have even been deported and then been brought back to the united states of america. that's not an old story, that's a story of today. the federal government took a step in the right direction when it legally challenged the show me your papers laws in alabama, south carolina, and arizona. because the state laws are unconstitutional and interfere with the federal government's authority to set and enforce immigration policy. but it makes so sense to file
suit -- mow sense to file suit against unconstitutional laws on one hand and on the other hand allow the same laws to funnel people into deportation centers and deportation pipeline. gabino has been denied relief from deportation because he's been stopped too many times, according to the federal government, for driving without a license. the government is complicit in serial profiling because while the states cannot deport gabino and break up his family of american citizens, the federal government is doing just that. and programs like 287-g and secured committees end up ensnaring people every year because of the racial profiling, the programs incentivize. if we're serious about truly ending racial profiling, we need to back up our lawsuits with actions that protect families and citizens and children and uphold our constitution. i guess the -- the jist of it is i'm happy when the federal
government says this is racial profiling, we're going to fight it, and they go into the federal court in arizona and south carolina and in alabama. but until we tell the local officials if you continue your serial profiling, we are not going to deport those people, they're going to continue it. it incentivizes. i hope we have have a conversation about that also. thank you very much for having me here this morning. >> thank you, congressman gutierrez. congressman keith ellison of minnesota is serving his third term representing the fifth congressional district in the state. he co-chairs the congressional progressive caucus. congressman ellison enjoys a moment in history here as the first muslim elected to the united states congress. previously he served two terms in the minnesota house of representatives. congressman ellison, welcome. the floor is yours. >> thank you, senator durbin. also thank you, senator graham. thank you for holding this important hearing. also, thank you for urging attorney general holder to
revise the justice department's racial profiling guidance. very important. as you know, that guidance has a loophole allowing law enforcement to profile american citizens based on religion and national origin. while many -- while any profiling of americans based on race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin is disturbing, i think it's important also to note that it is poor law enforcement. law enforcement is a finite resource. using law enforcement resources profiling as opposed to relying on articulable facts based on behavior suggesting a crime is a waste of that law enforcement resource. it leaves us less safe and more at risk when we don't target based on conduct and behavior suggestive of a crime but based on other considerations informed by prejudice. my comments today will focus on religious profiling of american
muslims. up to six million americans know what it's like to be looked upon with suspicion in the post-9/11 america, perhaps even before, although muslim americans work hard and play by the rules, a small number don't, many even live the american dream and send their kids to college and earn a living just like everyone else. yet many know all too well what it means to be pulled off of an airplane, pulled out of line, denied service, called names, or even physically attacked. like other americans, muslim americans want law enforcement to uphold public safety and not be viewed as a threat but as an ally. when fbi, for example, shows up at home and offices of american muslims who haven't done anything wrong, it makes them feel taergetted and under
suspicion, and it diminishes the important connection between law enforcement and citizen that is necessary to protect all of us. when muslim americans get pulled out of line at the airport and questioned for hours, asked questions and these are questions actually asked -- where do you go to the mosque, why did you give them $200 donation, do you fast, do you pray, how often? when questions like it are asked which have nothing to do with conduct behavior suggestive of a crime it erodes the important connection between law enforcement and citizen. no americans should be forced to answer questions about how they worship. i was particularly disturbed when i heard stories coming out of the controversy in new york about kids being spied on in colleges at the muslim student association. i was very proud when my son was
elected president of the student muslim student association at his college, but i wondered -- was my 18-year-old son subject to surveillance like the kids were at yale, columbia, and penn? he's a good kid, never done anything wrong. and i worry to think that he might be in somebody's files simply because he wanted to be active on campus. i am a great respecter of law enforcement, and i recognize and appreciate the tough job they have to keep us safe. but i think it is very important to focus on the proper use of law enforcement resources and not to give a -- an opening for someone's stereotype or prejudice. as one bush administration official once said, religious or ethnic or racial stereotyping is not good policing, and it threatens the values americans hold dear. to fix this problem once and for all, i urge the attorney general to close the loophole in the
justice department's racial profiling guidance, and i urge my colleagues in congress to pass the end racial profiling act. thank you. >> thanks, congressman ellison. i could have added in my opening statement comments made by president george w. bush after 9/11 which i thought were solid statements of constitutional principle. particularly when it dame to those adhereens of the muslim faith, that our war is not against this islamic religion but against those who would corrupt it, distort it, and misuse it in the name of terrorism. and i thank you for your testimony. >> thank you, sir. >> congresswoman judy chu represents the 32nd district in california since 2009. she was the first chinese american woman ever elected to congress. she chairs the congressional asian pacific american kaukz, formerly she served in the california state assembly. and we're honored that you're here today. please proceed. >> thank you, senator. as chair of the congressional
asian pacific american caucus, i'm grateful for the opportunity to speak here today about ending racial profiling in america. asian americans and pacific islanders like other minority communities have felt the significant effects of racial profiling throughout american history. from the chinese exclusion act to the japanese american internment and the post-9/11 racial profiling of arab, sikhs, muslims, and south asian american, we know what it's like to be targeted by our own government. it results in harassment, bullying, and sometimes even violence. in the house judiciary committee, we recently listened to the anguished testimony of sikh americans constantly humiliated as they were pulled out of lines at airports because of their turbans and made to wait in glass cages like animals on display. they were pulled into rooms to be interrogated for hours and even infants were searched. this has forced sikh americans
and muslim americans to fly less frequently or remove religious attire just to accommodate these unfairly targeted practices. just last year, i was shocked to learn about the activities of the new york police department and the cia who were secretly spying on muslim americans. despite the lack of any real evidence of wrongdoing, officers were monitoring muslim american communities and eavesdropping on families, recording everything from where they pray to the restaurants they ate in. the nypd entered several states in the northeast to monitor muslim student organizations at college campuses. these students have done nothing suspicious. the only thing they were guilty was of practicing islam. this type of behavior by law enforcement is a regression to some of the darkest periods of our history where we mistrusted our own citizens and spied on their daily lives, and it has no place in our modern society.
when law enforcement uses racial profiling against a group, it replaces trust with fear and hurts communication. the community and law enforcement instead need to be partners to prevent crimes and assure the safety of all americans. when the civil liberties of any group is violated, we all suffer. in fact, over 60 years ago during world war ii, 120,000 japanese americans lost everything that they had and were relocated to isolated internment camps throughout the country because of hysteria and scapegoating. in the end, not a single case of espionage was ever proven. but this were not enough voices to speak of against this injustice. today there must be those voices that will speak up. we must stand up for the rights of all americans. that is why i urge all members
of congress to support the end racial profiling act. we must protect the ideals of justice and equal protection under the law so that our country is one where no one is made to feel unsafe, unequal, or un-american because of their faith or ethnicity. thank you. >> thank you, congresswoman. the next witness is congresswoman fredricka wilson. she represent the 17th congressional district which, as i understand, includes sanford, florida. previously she served in the florida house of representatives from 1999 to 2002 and in the florida senate from 2003 to 2010. congresswoman wilson, thank you for joining us today, and proceed. >> thank you. >> i represent miami where trayvon is from. he was murdered in sanford. thank you. thank you, chairman durbin, ranking member graham, and senator blumenthal and other
members of the subcommittee. i thank you for inviting me to testify today on the issue of racial profiling. last week after 45 days, an arrest was finally made in the shooting death of my constituent, trayvon martin. trayvon was a 17-year-old boy walking home from a store. he was unarmed and simply walking with skittles and iced tea. he went skiing in the winter and horseback riding in the summer. his brother and best friend is a senior at florida international university of miami. a middle-class family, but that didn't matter. he was still profiled. followed, chased, and murdered. this case has captured international attention and will go down in history as a textbook example of racial profiling. his murder affected me personally, and it broke my heart again. i have buried so many young
black boys, it is extremely traumatizing for me. when my own son, who is now a school principal, learned how to drive, i bought him a cell phone because i knew he would be profiled, and he was. he is still fearful of law enforcement and what they might do when he is driving. i have three grandsons. a 1, a 3, and a 5-year-old. i hope we can solve this issue before they receive a driver's license. i pray for them even now. there's a real tension between black boys and the police, not perceived but real. if you walk into any inner city school and ask the students -- have you ever been racially profiled? everyone will raise their hands. boys and girls. they've been followed as they shop in stores, they've been stopped by the police for no apparent reason. and they know at a young age that they will be profiled.
i'm a staunch child advocate. i don't care what color the child is. i was a school principal, a school board member, a state legislator, and now in congress. i desperately care about my welfare of all children. they are my passion. but i've learned from my experiences that black boys in particular are at risk. years of economic and legal disenfranchisement and legacy of jim crowe have led to serious economic disparities and fueled prejudice against black boys and men. trayvon martin was a victim of this legacy, this legacy that has led to fear. this legacy that has led to the isolation of plaque males. this legacy -- black males. this legacy has led to racial profiling. trayvon was murdered by someone who thought he looked suspicious. i established the council on the social status of black men and boys in the state of florida
when i was in the state senate. i believe we need a council or commission like it on the national and federal level. everyone should understand that our entire society is impacted. a federal commission on the social status of black men and boys should be established specifically to focus on alleviating, correcting the underlying causes of higher race of school expulsions and, suspensions, homicides, incarcerations, poverty, drug abuse, as well as income, health and educational disparities among black males. i have spent 20 years building a mentoring and dropout prevention program for at-risk boys in miami-dade county middle schools. it's called the 5,000 role models of excellence project. boys are taught not only how to be productive members of society by emulating mentors who are role models in the community, they are also taught how to respond to racial profiling. it is sad reality that we have
to teach boys these things just to survive in their own communities. but we do. we need to have a national conversation about racial profiling now, not later. the time is now to stand up and address these issues and fight injustice that exists throughout our nation. enough is enough. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, congresswoman. unless my colleagues have questions on this panel, i will allow them to return to their senate and house duties. and thank you very, very much for being here today. now we'll turn to our second passage of witnesses. and -- panel of witnesses. and each of them will please take their place at the witness table.
before you take your seats, wait for everyone to take their places. please stand to be sworn. we have everyone here? yes, i think we do. if -- ask the witnesses to please raise their right hand. do you affirm the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you very much, and let the record reflect that the witnesses all answered in the affirmative. first witness is ronald davis. chief of police for the city of east palo alto, california, since 2005. before that, 19 years with the oakland police department where
he rose to the rank of captain. chief davis served on the federal monitoring seems overseeing police reform consent decrees between the u.s. department of justice, washington, d.c., and detroit. among other publications, he's co-authored the justice departmentomon graph, how to correctly collect and analyze racial profiling data. your reputation depends on it. he has a bachelor's of science degree from southern illinois university at carbondale. he testified at both the previous senate hearings on racial profiling and sorry it's been so long since we've resumed this conversation. it's an honor to have you return a few years later to bring us up to date. at this point, chief davis, the floor is yours for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning, mr. chairman, and distinguished subcommittee members. i'm ronald davis, i'm currently the chief of police for the city of east palo alto, california. i am humbled to provide testimony at today's hearing. as was mentioned, i did have the honor of testifying at the last
senate hearings on racial profiling in 2001. when asked to come before the committee today, the first thought that came to mind was actually a question -- what has changed since my testimony in 2001 when president bush then stated "racial profiling is wrong, and we will end it in america"? my testimony today is based on three diverse perspectives. first as a racial profiling and police reform expert. second, as a police executive with over 27 years experience working in two of the greatest and morse diverse communities in the nation, oakland and east palo alto. and third, as a black man and a father of a teenager boy of color. first, from my perspective as an expert, i think it is fair to say that law enforcement has made progress,al continue limited, in addressing -- albeit, limited, in addressing racial profiling and bias-based policing. over the past several years, through the pattern and practice of investigations has worked with law enforcement agencies nationwide to provide guidance on racial profiling policies and promote industry best practices. most recently the cops office in partnership with the national
network for safe communities is working on issues of racial reconciliation in communities to further strengthen relationships and reduce crime and violence in those communities. today there are very few police agencies in the united states that do not have some type of policy prohibiting racial profiling and bias-based policing. this progress, however, is seriously undermined by two focal points. first, there exists no national standard definition for racial profiling that prohibits the use of race, national origin, or religion except when describing a person. consequently, many state and local policies define racial profiling as using race as the sole basis for a stop or any police action. unfortunately, this policy is misleading, and that it suggests using race as a factor for anything other than a description is justified, which it is not. simply put, mr. chairman, race is a sdriptor, not a predictor. to use race when describing someone who's just committed a crime is appropriate. however, when we deem a person to be suspicious or attach
criminality to a person because of their color of their skin, the neighborhood they are walking in, or the clothing they are wearing, we are attempting to predict criminality. the problem with such predictions is that we are seldom right in our results, and always wrong in our approach. the same holds true within immigration context, as well. because a person looks latino or mexican does notopene that that person is undocumented and should not mean that they are stopped and asked for their papers. according to recent laws in alabama and arizona, the police are not just encouraged to make these type of discriminatory stops, they are actually expected to do so. most police chiefs agrees that engaging in these activities make communities less safe. this is one reason i joined the police chiefs association and 17 current and former law enforcement executives in filing a brief challenging the arizona law. we need to pass the end racial profiling act of 2011. this legislation puts forth a standard definition for racial profiling. it requires evidence-based training to curtail the practice and provide support and n developing scientific-based data
collection and analysis practices. we also need the justice department to revise this guidance regarding the use of race by federal law enforcement agencies. this will close as mentioned in the previous testimonies, loopholes that could permit unlawful and ineffective profiling. it makes no sense to exclude religion and national origin from prohibition or profiling or to treat terrorism or immigration different from other law enforcement efforts. i also fear that without this legislation we will continue business as usual. and only respond to issues when they surface through higher profile tragedies such as the oscar grant case in oakland and the trayvon martin case in florida. the second factor that undermine our progress is the dire need for us to reform the entire criminal justice system. the last top-to-bottom review of our system was conducted in 1967 through the president's commission on law enforcement administration of justice. we must now examine the entire system through a new prism that protects against inequities such as racial profiling,
incarceration rates, and laws. i urge passage of the acts of 2011. mr. chairman, from my perspective as a police executive with over 27 years, i know firsthand how ineffective racial profiling is. as an example, in east palo alto, we are more than 95% of color. 60% latino, approximately 30% african-american, and a rapidly growing asian and pacific islanders community. in 2005, the city experienced, unfortunately, the second highest murder per capita rate in california and the fifth highest in the united states. in january, 2006, with the six months serving as chief of police, east palo alto police officer richard may was shot and killed in the line of duty by a parolee three months out of prison. with this crime rate and this violence against the police officer, my community had to ii distinct choices -- we could declare war on parolees, we could engage in enforcement activities that would