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Policing: November 3, 2010: Police Deviance
•Police deviance: something that works against the norms of policing.
•Going to talk about racial profiling
•Talking about police deviance—includes internal and external
•Racial profiling: think about it in an law enforcement context.
•Racial profiling operates in many areas other than law enforcement per
say—prior to attacks in New York, it was almost focused on African
Canadians. After 9/11, the racial profiling debate focused on Arabs and
Muslims-and spilled beyond criminal law to other context—such as
banking, and employment.
•The whole issue of racial profiling-a lot of things we don’t know—hard
to determine precisely whether it is just race to heighten scruinty,
whether it is banking, in terms of employment, hard to single out the
factor—or is just one factor amongst several factors. This is because
the decision maker—
•The person can find some factor that can trigger suspicision. –always
some way so justify it. (e.g. it’s not just race)
•U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency: criteria: acting too nervous, acting
alone, or travelling with a companion, (always going to get caught
then?) –this whole thing is ambigious—it is hard to say whether we can
pinpoint to race that is specifically the factor.
•What do we mean when we talk about racial profiling: we are talking
about separating a subsection of the population from the larger whole
on the basis of specific criteria thought to associated with risk.
•Singling out a particular subgroup to some sort of special scrutiny.
Could be for many purposes—could be for preventing violence, and
crime. Or some kind of undesirable activity. If we wanted to
understand racial profiling more simply-it entails the use of race as a
proxy for risk.
•Police profile all the time-and nothing wrong with them.
•It is racial profiling that is the problem—absolutely deny they do that.
•Just of profiling---profiling is an indepensable part of law enforcement
and many types of institution.
•Racial profiling represents a different problem all together.
•Let’s look at racial profiling specifically in Ontario.
•Expand the police powers prior to 9/11 –seems to be popular topic.
•(write about Arabs and Muslims)
•KASHMIRI: enemy others (if write on this topic-e’mail prof)
•When see articles on racial profiling defined in a law enforcement
•SEE SLIDES** for definitions
•Ontario Human Rights approach defining it as “any action undertaken
for reasons of safety or public protection…..” etc.—it is much broader
•E.g. a bar has this policy to not serve alcohol to aboriginals—racial
profiling and race being linked to safety-racism.
•a subgroup of a larger whole is being singled out for special treatment.
•It rises in areas authority a great deal of discretion.
•For policing, you cannot move discretion—a key feature of policing is
this significant amount of discretion that is rewarded to police officers.
•It is this discretion that opens the door that opens for abuse.
•What is racial profiling based on?
•Presuming it exists,
•Racial profiling is based on assumptions that we have that is not
•Based on assumptions that members of certain ethnic groups are
disproportionately more likely to be involved in these activities.
•The police go to great lengths—to disprove folks like Scot Wortley.
•There is so much opposition to the notion that this exists. Why is there
so much opposition??
•Why would we expect the police not live up to it. Racial profiling is
•Any more practical reasons for the police? It undermines the whole
•Police force relies on every single segment of society. Any accusations of
bias is not going to be vigouriously denied.
•Police try to weed out racists and racist behaviour. It is constructed as
a few “rotten apples.” –just a few individual police officers.
•Racial profiling is very incidious—going to make it hard to monitor.
•A few years ago, Scot Wortly published a series of article in the Toronto
Star—based on stats collected by the police that Scot Wortley tabulated
and was a story of racial profiling—it suggests very strongly that black
people were overrepresented in certain categories.
•we don’t have a lot of statistical evidence that racial profiling exists in
Canada. It doesn’t show clearly that racial profiling exists—most of the
time we hear about racial profiling in a kind of anecdotal way—stories
from friends, family.
•Most police forces in North America do not collect race based statistics.
•Very good reason we do not collect database based on race—depends on
what the data shows—stats can show a distorted story.