Defining Racial Profiling

Defining Racial Profiling

What is “racial profiling”?  Does “racial profiling” have a legitimate role in law enforcement? The following is excerpted from the “Fort Hood Report” (short title).  A careful reading of this excerpt will allow one to recognize the false claim of “racial profiling”.


Racial profiling, or the invidious use of race or ethnicity as the basis for targeting suspects or conducting stops, searches, seizures and other investigative procedures, has no place in law enforcement.  It is an unconstitutional and ineffective law enforcement tool.  [Federal law] prohibits the use of race or ethnicity as the primary, dominant, or sole factor in commencing an assessment or investigation. (emphasis added)

Race and ethnicity may be used as a specific identifier of a suspect based on credible information…  Race or ethnicity also may be considered if it has an explicable and well-founded nexus with the threat or group being assessed or investigated; for example, some criminal gangs and terrorist organizations consist exclusively or primarily of persons of a common ethnic background.

The prohibition of investigative activity based solely on race or ethnicity also applies to the collection of racial/ethnic demographics and behavioral characteristics. (emphasis added)

For example, collecting demographics about a concentrated ethnic community could enable [law enforcement agencies] to assess and mitigate the threat posed by an ethnically-identifiable terrorist organization’s effort to recruit new members from that community.  The data could also be mapped to enable the identification of otherwise imperceptible connections.  Moreover, knowing that terrorist groups recruit members from a certain region of the ethnic group’s home country (ethnic behavioral information) would be relevant to the assessment… In these examples, the rationale for collection is not based solely on the community’s ethnicity.

In short, “race/ethnicity/religion” alone is not sufficient cause for law enforcement investigation.  “Race/ethnicity/religion” PLUS an articulable nexus to suspected criminal activity is a sufficient cause for law enforcement investigation.

OBS “Fort Hood Report” posts:


FORT HOOD REPORT DIGESTED (Pt. 2) (Violent Radicalization)



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