Published March 2010
The Persistence of Racial Profiling in Gwinnett
Time for Accountability, Transparency, and an End to 287(g)
The most recent stop occurred when Juan was leaving work and an officer from the Gwinnett Sheriff’s Department asked him to pull his car aside. Although Juan asked him up to five times why he was pulled over, the officer never answered him. Rather, the officer demanded his driver’s license and screamed at him for asking questions. Juan showed the officer a valid license and was eventually released without having been issued a citation. However, Juan still does not know why he was detained.
Juan now avoids certain areas of Sugar Hill to avoid harassment by the police.
Juan’s story is merely one example of the prevalence of racial profiling in Georgia and the United States, as documented by numerous reports on this problem. About half of the states within the United States have enacted legislation to eradicate racial profiling within their boundaries. Georgia is among those states that have no laws to prohibit racial profiling, as the Georgia General Assembly has rejected repeated attempts to pass such a law. Accordingly, law enforcement personnel throughout Georgia may continue to stop individuals based solely on their race or ethnicity, often without any measure of accountability. This is of particular concern in Gwinnett County, where testimonies affirm that officers disproportionately target people of color for pretextual stops, investigations, and enforcement. The incidents of racial profiling in Gwinnett County have been particularly exacerbated after the implementation of the 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement to participate in enforcement of federal immigration laws. Both before and after the implementation of this program, the ACLU of Georgia received complaints from drivers, pedestrians, and Gwinnett community members showing that police officers are targeting immigrants and people of color for stops, searches, and interrogations.
Download the full Gwinnett report in PDF format.
Listen to the Podcast that accompanies this report: