Issue May 2, 2006

ACLU eyes racial profiling

The ACLU of Kentucky is neutral on the issue of Derby cruising, but the civil rights organization is running a public education campaign to teach the community about racial profiling as it relates to cruising, particularly given that Louisville Metro Police plan to enforce ordinances this weekend that are not normally enforced.

“The ACLU of Kentucky takes no official position on the issue of cruising,” program associate Maria Emilia Ramirez said in a news release Tuesday. “Instead, we are interested in making sure that everyone is treated fairly under the law.”

ACLU team leaders and volunteers have been trained to distribute packets that include information about racial profiling, how to document incidents and what people should do if they are stopped by police.

The campaign is meant to raise awareness of racial profiling, which isn’t limited to Derby weekend events but rather is a nationwide problem on the streets and in airports.

Several hundred racial profiling packets will be handed out to residents and businesses along the portions of Broadway that will be closed Derby weekend, as well as sections of Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road between Payne Street and Eastern Parkway, where cruising is common.

Packets are also available at the offices of the NAACP, the Louisville Urban League, the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression and the Justice Resource Center.

“When you have a situation where enforcement is increased,” Ramirez said, “we must ensure they’re enforcing the law and not racially profiling. If racial profiling was to occur, residents and visitors should know how to properly report those instances and protect their civil rights. We want to be sure that people know their rights when dealing with law enforcement officials on Derby weekend and throughout the rest of the year.”

For more info, contact Ramirez at maria@aclu-ky.org or 581-9746, ext. 207.

Phillip Bailey contributed to this story. Send comments to leo@leoweekly.com