The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund submitted written testimony for today's hearing on "Ending Racial Profiling in America," held by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.
The hearing is examining the disturbing presence of racial profiling in law enforcement and exploring proposed solutions, including the End Racial Profiling Act and closing loopholes in the U.S. Department of Justice's racial profiling guidance.
"Racial profiling undermines a pivotal principle in our nation's criminal justice system: An individual is innocent until proven otherwise. Focusing on characteristics, rather than behaviors, to identify suspected wrongdoers is misguided, wasteful and even dangerous to those who are unfairly targeted," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color know too well how easily it is to be singled out for harassment and persecution as people living at the intersection of racism and anti-LGBT bias."
The Task Force testimony details how LGBT people of color are disproportionately affected by racial profiling. It particularly spotlights the deplorable treatment of transgender people of color at the hands of law enforcement, as found in the groundbreaking study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, from the Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality.
Injustice at Every Turn found, for example, that 41 percent of black and 21 percent of Latino/a transgender people reported being detained in a prison or jail cell because they are transgender, compared to 4 percent of white transgender people.
The Task Force calls upon the subcommittee to pass the End Racial Profiling Act and to work toward the measure's full congressional passage; and strengthen and expand restrictions against racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.
"We thank the subcommittee for holding the first hearing on this critical issue since 2001. We look forward to continuing the dialogue on how to bring an end to discriminatory racial profiling practices once and for all," said Carey.
Read the Task Force's full testimony here.