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How to Respond to Racial Profiling in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a law that makes it illegal for police officers to "racially profile". The law defines racial profiling as "the detention, interdiction or other disparate treatment of an individual solely on the basis of the racial or ethnic status of such individual." (See Oklahoma Statute Title 22 Section 34.3). The law could certainly be better written and I don't like the "soley" language of the law. The law would be improved if the word "soley" was removed all together.

However, Oklahoma's law also has a provision that says "Whenever a person who is stopped or arrested believes the stop or arrest was in violation of Section 34.3 of this title, that person may file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights Enforcement and may also file a complaint with the district attorney for the county in which the stop or arrest occurred. A copy of the complaint shall be forwarded to the arresting officer's employer by the Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights Enforcement. The employer shall investigate the complaint for purposes of disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution." (See Title 22 O.S. Section 34.4)

The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office has a complaint form on its website which you can download by clicking here or you can also see the form displayed below.

Not Enough People File Complaints When they Believe they have been Racially Profiled

In 2016 only 6 people filed complaints with the Oklahoma Attorney General's office claiming they were racially profiled. In a state of almost 4 million people everyone knows that racial profiling occurred many more than 6 times. In every large group of people a certain percentage of them are going to be bad. Oklahoma has around 9,000 law enforcement officers, and lets just say for argument's sake that 99% of them were good officers (I seriously doubt that high of a percentage for any group) than that would mean that Oklahoma has 90 bad officers in the state. 90 bad officers in the state are going to racially profile more than 6 times in a year. They would probably racially profile more than 6 times in a day.

The Oklahoma legislature has made racial profiling unlawful and has given the citizens of this state a mechanism to deal with officers that racially profile, but the citizens are not taking advantage of the system. Admittedly, the law is a little weak, but the more people that file racial profiling complaints the harder it is for those officers violating the law by racial profiling to continue the practice.

What Would Happen If Every Victim of Racial Profiling Filed a Complaint

If everyone that felt they were a victim of racial profiling in Oklahoma filed a complaint, the bad officers that were engaging in this practice could no longer hide in the crowd. Those who believe they are a victim of racial profiling have a duty to complain. it is easy for a bad officer to explain away one or two complaints, its much harder to explain away 10 or 20 complaints. These are offenses that often have to be proven with evidence of a pattern and practice. There can be no evidence of a pattern and practice if people do not make a record.



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