Racial profiling and false arrest
Without getting political, Donald Trump - presumptive republican nominee for president, stated recently, according to the New York Times in this article, that the US should consider using more racial profiling methods for protection against terrorism. The NY Times stated that "[p]rofiling has been an occasional theme of the Trump campaign. In addition to his most recent comments, Mr. Trump has discussed increased surveillance of Muslims and mosques, and has said that he would consider registering Muslims in a special database or requiring that they carry cards that identify them as Muslim."
But is it legal?
According to Minnesota House of Representatives analyst Jim Cleary, "there appear to be at least two clearly distinguishable definitions of the term 'racial profiling': a narrow definition and a broad definition... Under the narrow definition, racial profiling occurs when a police officer stops, questions, arrests, and/or searches someone solely on the basis of the person's race or ethnicity... Under the broader definition, racial profiling occurs whenever police routinely use race as a factor that, along with an accumulation of other factors, causes an officer to react with suspicion and take action."
In 1996 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Armstrong that racial profiling is constitutional in the absence of data that "similarly situated" defendants of another race were disparately treated, overturning a 9th Circuit Court ruling that law enforcement must proceed on "the presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes – not with the premise that any type of crime is the exclusive province of any particular racial or ethnic group", waving away challenges based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees the right to be safe from search and seizure without a warrant (which is to be issued "upon probable cause"), and the Fourteenth Amendment which requires that all citizens be treated equally under the law. To date there have been no known cases in which any U.S. court dismissed a criminal prosecution because the defendant was targeted based on race. This Supreme Court decision doesn't prohibit government agencies from enacting policies prohibiting it in the field by agents and employees.
Arizona tested this constitutional nod to profiling by passing a law that allowed its officers to arrest or detain on the presumption that the detainee is "Mexican" or presumably not American. The Supreme Court found this to be unconstitutional but upheld certain parts of the law, for instance the part that allowed for an immigration check during a routine stop.
So to answer this blog's question: YES! Trump would be allowed to profile, so long as it's extent did not reach beyond the Supreme Court's definition.
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