WASHINGTON (WJZ)—Profiling by police is becoming a focus for Maryland lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They’re pushing legislation to end the practice.
Alex DeMetrick looks at the support that move is now generating.
It’s Md. Sen. Ben Cardin’s bill and it’s getting renewed interest in wake of a teen killing in Ferguson, MO.
Police work is always a question of judgment, but when race or ethnicity trumps probable cause and becomes the prime reason for an arrest or other action, there is pushback.
From the streets of Baltimore last winter:
“They just get you and grab you and harass you,” one man said.
To a Baltimore church today:
“The inability to move freely in this country is the most pressing assault on the concept of citizenship,” said Rev. Dr. Todd Yeary, Douglas Memorial Community Church.
It was spelled out more succinctly at as rally of Baltimore clergy supporting a bill placed before congress by Sen. Cardin.
“We’ve got to end it at the state, local, auxiliary, federal. Everywhere. Profiling has to end. It’s got to end,” Cardin said.
But it’s a big jump from introducing a bill to getting the rest of congress to pass it.
“I think it will be tough, but I think it can be done,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland.
The killing of Michael Brown is the reason. Unarmed, he was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO, sparking protests that racial profiling was to blame. The controversy renewed similar charges in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
“I think we’re in a climate today, particularly after Ferguson, where people want to make sure that they try to address these issues in front of them as opposed to waiting for incident after incident to happen,” Rep. Cummings said.
While pushing for federal law to ban profiling, Cardin’s bill would also include funding for police training to end the practice.
In the senate, Cardin has been joined by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski in backing the profiling bill.
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