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Long Walk Home


I found the report of the forum on police profiling of blacks and Latinos extremely interesting. It brought out in public the experiences of people who live in the community as well as the clearly defensive stance of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

In particular I found it remarkable but not surprising that Deputy Police Chief Mannix did not realize what he was saying when, first of all, he stated that officers need “some elevated level of suspicion” to justify a stop and pat down (or evidently just running the person’s ID through the computer). More importantly, he thought that this required level of suspicion “could be seeing someone in a certain neighborhood during a specific time of day, noticing they have bulky pockets, etc.” If that isn’t a good definition of racial profiling, I don’t know what is. It means that a black man walking home toward the Westside late at night fits the description perfectly, even if he doesn’t have any other distinguishing features.

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