DM council advances ban on police racial profiling
DES MOINES (AP) — The Des Moines City Council has unanimously advanced a proposal to ban racial profiling by police in the wake of nationwide protests and civil unrest decrying racial injustice.
Of the 45 people who spoke before they council in an online meeting Monday addressing the ban, most said more oversight was needed when racial profiling complaints are lodged against Des Moines police, the Des Moines Register reported.
The proposal would ban racial profiling and biased policing. Violations could lead to an officer’s firing.
The proposed ordinance defines racial profiling as occurring when an officer’s “motivating factor of the action taken is based on an individual’s race, color, ethnicity, religion or national origin” instead of the person’s behavior or other information “reasonably relied upon” to identify suspects.
It would prohibit “discriminatory pre-textual stops,” when an officer stops someone for a minor violation but uses it as an excuse to look for more serious violations.
Under the ordinance, officers who witness a colleague racially profiling someone would be required to report it to their supervisors. Those who believe they are victims of racial profiling would have their complaints investigated by the Des Moines Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards.
Outside City Hall during the meeting, demonstrators conducted a sit-in to protest the proposed measure, saying it gives too much power to police to determine what constitutes racial profiling.