Michigan Racial Profiling Lawyer
Automatically assuming the worst of someone because of their race is known as a form of discrimination. Unfortunately, this discrimination plays a role in our legal system frequently. One common type of police misconduct is racial profiling.
Although most police officers are not guilty of racial profiling, many do discriminate against others because of their race. Racial profiling may happen when making an arrest or once someone is in prison. If you feel a police officer mistreated you just because of your race, it is essential to speak with one of our Michigan racial profiling attorneys.
What is Racial Profiling?
Racial profiling is when an officer assumes someone is a suspect in a crime due to his or her race. In some instances, officers may use racial profiling to target a specific race because they believe they are more likely to engage in criminal activity. If someone targets you because of the color of your skin, they are violating your civil rights.
Examples of racial profiling include:
- Using racial background as the primary or motivating factor for suspicion
- Using racial background as a reason for a security or police action
- Using racial background for reasons other than to describe physical descriptions of suspects
Although in some cases it is required for police to use race in carrying out their duties, there is a fine line they must walk. For example, if a police officer uses race as a reason to stop, question, arrest, search, or convict a particular racial group disproportionately to other racial groups, this is known as a civil rights violation. Race cannot be the sole reason for pulling someone over.
Can I Protect Myself from Racial Profiling?
Police officers ultimately have the right to pull you over for a traffic violation, regardless of your race. While you may not be able to tell if you’re being targeted for your race immediately, it’s important to remember that you have constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. There are a few ways you can try to protect yourself from racial profiling:
- Understand your rights – when pulled over, a police officer can not search your vehicle without probable cause of illegal activity.
- Obey the law – following all laws gives police officers less of a reason to pull you over in the first place, regardless of their motive. It also won’t give them probable cause to search or arrest you.
- Do not argue with the officer – this may be difficult, especially if you are unfairly targeted, but it’s better to take your argument to court. Raising your voice or getting upset may lead to the officer making an arrest.
- Identify the officer – get the arresting officer’s badge number, license number, and name. Doing so will make it easier to file a complaint if you feel you have been racially profiled.
Of course, it’s important to note that you are not at fault if you are targeted because of the color of your skin. While you cannot fully protect yourself from being racially profiled, you can take steps to prove that a police officer unfairly targeted you if an arrest occurs.
Should I Get a Lawyer?
The law regarding racial profiling and police misconduct is complicated, so enlisting the help of a Michigan racial profiling lawyer is your best option. Michigan Legal Center has over 20 years of experience fighting for the civil rights of residents all across Michigan. If you feel that you were unfairly targeted by a police officer, speak with an experienced Michigan racial profiling lawyer today. Contact us today at (800) 961-8477 for a free case evaluation.