SB 3459 by Marrero, HB 4001 by U. Jones
Signed into law by Governor Bredesen on May 19th, 2008
- Defines racial profiling in Tennessee law as "the detention, interdiction or other disparate treatment of an individual solely on the basis of their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion."
- Strongly encourages all local law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies to prevent racial profiling by 2010. Law enforcement organizations will have over 18 months to help generate model policies, and provide assistance to individual law enforcement agencies.
Racial profiling is an abusive but subtle law enforcement practice, often difficult to detect and prove. Racial profiling occurs anytime a police officer uses skin color, accent, or perceived ethnicity as the determinative factor in deciding to pull someone over, subject him or her to special interrogation, or make an arrest rather than issuing a citation. These decisions are made everyday on streets across the state, and are an affront to a nation that values equal protection under the law.
The TN Racial Profiling Prevention Act represents only the most recent step in a multi-year campaign to address racial profiling in Tennessee. By introducing and advocating for this bill, immigrant leaders joined forces with the ACLU and NAACP to raise awareness of this unacceptable law enforcement practice. Community leaders were also successful in reframing many of the anti-immigrant proposals in the legislature to highlight their negative impact on racial justice.
As we continue this campaign, TIRRC leaders and allies will be devising strategies to strengthen the Racial Profiling Prevention Act, and introduce additional provisions for data collection, monitoring, and investigation of abuses. Community leaders will also work closely with local law enforcement agencies to help establish policies that uphold the equal protection rights of all Tennessee residents.