ACLU accuses LPD of racial profiling - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

ACLU accuses LPD of racial profiling

By: Megan Conway

mconway@klkntv.com

A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union is critical of how Nebraska Law Enforcement Agencies handle traffic stops. The report contains statewide data taken for 12 years. The Lincoln Police Department says there's more to it than just the numbers.


"Unfortunately, the data shows that people of color are more likely to be pulled over, have their car searched and arrested," says Tyler Richard, Communications Director for the ACLU.

The ACLU says it's a statewide issue that exists here in Lincoln. African Americans make up almost 10 percent of stops in the capital city, but less than 4 percent of the population. Lincoln police aren't surprised by the numbers because they report them, but say that variables aren't taken into consideration.

"The most effective and efficient way that we can distribute our workforce is where the calls are and there are areas of town that that may have a negative impact to certain minority groups," says Officer Brian Jackson, Assistant Chief.

The ACLU says this explanation doesn't answer why people of color are more likely to have their car searched. It says once minority groups feel targeted, trust can be affected.

"This trust doesn't just harm communities of color; it impacts public safety for everyone," says Richard.

The ACLU has three main recommendations for law enforcement agencies; annual anti–bias training, an independent group to process complaints, and cameras in the cars and on officers. Officer Brian Jackson says they have an annual ethics course that covers these issues. Also, there's a panel of citizens appointed by the mayor that addresses complaints made about the police department.


And for the last four years, every new patrol car comes equipped with a dash camera, only a few don't have them. When it comes to body cameras, they have some, but Jackson says they're expensive. Jackson wants the public to know that this information is being heard and is important to them, but that it's not realistic for the numbers to match. 


"I don't know that the numbers will ever exactly equal the racial demographic of the community, it's just not possible," says Jackson.

The ACLU says it's had concerns about Nebraska Law Enforcement in previous years. The Lincoln Police Department says the complaints don't fall on deaf ears and that they are always working to improve. 

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