Most everyone feels a little uncomfortable when dealing with law enforcement officers. Sadly, some people have personal experiences that justify that common-sense nervousness.
People of different backgrounds can have completely different experiences with police officers in similar circumstances. Although officers should not let racial biases affect their job performance, some police officers use the color of someone’s skin as justification for questioning them or stopping them on the street.
How this can occur
Officers might use a report of a criminal of the same race but no other similar features as an excuse to detain or arrest an innocent and uninvolved person of color. This practice is racial profiling, and it results in not just bad blood between the police and the people in their communities, but also can lead to inappropriate arrests and other kinds of police misconduct.
What is Colorado’s stance on racial profiling?
There are actually state laws that address the problematic practice of racial profiling by Colorado law enforcement officers. Specifically, the rules make it clear that officers should not choose whether or not to engage with individuals based solely on characteristics like their skin color or race. They should have a reason to approach someone beyond just the color of their skin.
Unfortunately, that may not prevent officers from stopping certain people in some neighborhoods or those the officers see who are driving very nice cars. Those who are subject to racial profiling, especially if the situation escalated and resulted in police using force to conduct an arrest, may need to take action about any violations of their rights that they experience.