AirTalk for October 25, 2011

ACLU report alleges widespread racial profiling by FBI

FBI insignia

The ACLU is challenging the FBI on the legality of its ethnic mapping practices.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims the FBI targets specific American communities across the United States based on race, ethnicity, national origin and religion for “assessments” and possible criminal investigation.

Citing records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU alleges that FBI agents identified Chinese and Russian communities in San Francisco as a place to look for organized crime syndicates and Arab-American and Muslim communities in Michigan as a possible terrorist recruitment ground, among others.

The ACLU calls this practice “racial profiling on an industrial scale” and has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to ban it. But according to law enforcement officials, this isn’t racial profiling at all. It’s just effective crime mapping, something that’s been utilized by various federal, state, and city law enforcement agencies for over two decades.

More information about the ACLU's new initiative, "Mapping the FBI," including a searchable database of FOIA documents: click here.

WEIGH IN:

Who’s right? Is this actually racial profiling or just an efficient tool in law enforcement?

Guests:

Mike German, senior policy counsel for ACLU; former FBI agent

Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies; former Justice Department counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for civil rights


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