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Criminal justice system

2003

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Color Of Crime: The Case Against Race-Based Suspect Descriptions, Bela August Walker Apr 2003

The Color Of Crime: The Case Against Race-Based Suspect Descriptions, Bela August Walker

Bela August Walker

Law enforcement in the United States relies on racial identifiers as a crucial part of suspect descriptions. Unlike racial profiling, this practice is regarded as both an essential tool for law enforcement and as an unproblematic use of race. However, given the racial history of the United States, such descriptors, particularly “Black,” have developed in such a way to create an extremely large and unreliable category. Due to these factors, the use of race as a physical descriptor in suspect decisions is both discriminatory and inefficient. Employing race as an identifying characteristic allows law enforcement officers broad discretionary powers that ...