Is biased-based profiling still occurring in the City of Brotherly Love? Policy must be adhered to by law enforcement.

Incidents of misconduct?

Philadelphia has been repeatedly called out for racially-biased practices with regard to the policing of its neighborhoods, and not all allegations of misconduct against the city are investigated.  Historically, overt actions of beating citizens of color, and overuse of explosive devices to subdue criminals have plagued neighborhoods of people of color.  More recently, in Rittenhouse Square prejudice has been newsworthy with the illegal arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Starbucks Coffee House that seemed to be a racially driven act due to no apparent law-breaking activity.  Bias-based profiling is a form of police brutality and is an illegal and actionable offense to be remedied in the interests of negatively affected persons; when misguided police officers overstep their authoritative boundaries by seeking out individuals based solely on preconceived prejudicial judgments due to race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status to name a few.

Civilian oversight board conclusion on racial biased- based profiling reason for arrest.

While the not so distant arrest of the two men waiting at the Starbucks location in Rittenhouse Square was construed as a blatant overstep by officers  through biased-based profiling because there was no other reason to arrest them aside from being black men in a predominantly white residential area of Philadelphia, the outside investigation by the civilian oversight board of the Philadelphia Police Department concluded that the officers appeared to act “in accordance with the law” and the employee at Starbucks “broke no laws either” — but the obvious undercurrent of race was played out.  Executive Director Hans Menos, of the oversight board said “Starbucks and the residents of this city should consider if their handling would have been different if the subjects were not two black men,” “They should consider how police have been used as tools by citizens to perpetuate many social ills – especially racism.”

Internal affairs investigation conclusion.

Internal Affairs investigated how the arrest was handled on “all levels” in this instance and the officers were not cited as doing anything wrong because they were called by a business to resolve a conflict peacefully and they did.  This is one case where the outcome did not escalate but it could have.  Officers are held to a higher standard as they police neighborhoods and businesses and that is why bias-based profiling training is essential to the success of the police forces in the United States, and more specifically to a city like Philadelphia where a thick foundation of mistrust has been fortified with racially-based profiling leading to 1) illegal searches and seizures, 2) excessive use of force, 3) sexually driven harassment and misconduct and 4) false arrests and detainment which are violations of state and federal laws protecting civil rights.

The Philadelphia Police Department addresses Biased Based Profiling under Policy 8.4 whereby:

A.  The Philadelphia Police Department ensures the rights guaranteed by federal, state and local law are protected for all citizens regardless of their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or religion. When such rights are infringed upon by violence, threats or other harassment, the Department will be vigilant in its efforts to rapidly and decisively identify the perpetrators, arrest them, and bring them before the court. All acts of violence or threats, including bias-related incidents, will be viewed as serious, and the investigations will be given priority attention. Such acts generate fear and concern among victims and result in loss of public confidence.

B.  The Detective Division of occurrence will be responsible for the investigation of bias incidents, where the primary motivation for the commission of a crime can be traced to discrimination of any nature. The Victim Services Unit will aid, as needed.

C.  Although a criminal act motivated by the sexual orientation of an individual is not covered under Section §2710 “Ethnic Intimidation” of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (PCC) , it will still be the policy of the Department to investigate all criminal acts motivated by such orientation.

D. It is important to recognize that most incidents between different individuals or groups are NOT the result of hostility based on one of the above-mentioned affiliations. simply because two combatants are of different racial groups, for example, does not automatically mean that ethnic intimidation has occurred. Additionally, individuals of the same religion, ethnic or racial groups can also be involved in bias incidents.

E.  Where appropriate, the charge of Ethnic Intimidation (§2710 PCC) will be added to other charges lodged against a defendant.

F.  Victims of offenses which are misdemeanors that are determined to be bias incidents or ethnic intimidation as defined herein are not to be referred to the District Attorney’s Intake Unit for private criminal complaints. They will be investigated by Departmental personnel and when appropriate prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office.

Call an attorney.

If you identify with any of the listed forms of police brutality, talk to a legal professional who might be able to help you manage your damages which evolved from a biased-based profiling encounter.  Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by any form of police brutality.



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