Racial Profiling: What You Can Do - Sikh Profiling: What You Can Do KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Knowing your rights is the key to knowing what to do if you find yourself a victim of profiling. Although different types of situations require different actions, knowing your
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Racial Profiling: What You Can Do
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Knowing your rights is the key to knowing what to do if you find yourself a victim of profiling. Although different types of situations require different actions, knowing your civil rights well enough so that you can exercise them is critical in all profiling cases. At the minimum, you should know that you have the following basic rights:
You have the right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees individuals the right not to answer questions posed to them by law enforcement or other government agents. Law enforcement agents may ask questions, but individuals cannot be arrested simply for refusing to answer them.
You have the right to be free from "unreasonable searches and seizures." The Fourth Amendment protects your right to privacy. Without a search warrant, law enforcement and other government agents may not search your home or office without your consent.
A useful source of information on the legal and civil rights of both citizens and non-citizens is a pamphlet called "Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police, the FBI, the INS or the Customs Service." Available in seven different languages, this pamphlet can be found on the ACLU website.
FILE A COMPLAINT If you have been targeted in a profiling incident, you may wish to file a complaint with the appropriate agency. Information on how to file a complaint with the appropriate agency can be found in the sections below.
Racial Profiling If you believe that you have been the victim of unfair or illegal racial profiling, you can file a complaint with the DOJ Civil Rights Division's Coordination and Review Section at:
Coordination and Review Section Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice P.O. Box 66560 Washington, DC 20035-6560 (888) 848-5306
Their website address is http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/index.htm
Additionally, the DOJ Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section investigates and litigates complaints against police departments that exhibit a pattern of discrimination on the basis of national origin. To file a complaint, contact them at:
1140 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20036
AFFILIATES Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Legal Center
San Francisco Asian Law Caucus
Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice P.O. Box 66400 Washington, DC 20035-6400 (202) 514-6255
Their website address is http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/index.html
If you believe you have been the victim of a racially discriminatory highway stop by state, county, or local law enforcement, you may also consider filling out a Driver Profiling Complaint Form with the ACLU on their website at http://forms.aclu.org/feedback//feedback.cfm?r=6&ia=1&ii=0. Although the ACLU cannot guarantee that the information provided will lead to any specific legal action, the information may be used, with your consent, for one or more of the following purposes: (1) legislative testimony; (2) litigation purposes; or (3) as a notable example of a racial profiling incident.
Airport Profiling The U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Consumer Protection Division is receiving and documenting complaints of profiling and discrimination at airports. Upon receiving a complaint, the Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts an investigation and works to ensure that passengers receive a reply from the airline. If the DOT finds during an investigation that an airline policy or procedure has violated any official rules or guidelines, the agency takes the appropriate corrective action against the airline.
To file a complaint by email, the individual filing a complaint (and not a third party) should send the following information to Airconsumer@ost.dot.gov:
- The name of the person filing the complaint - A brief description of the issue or incident - A statement expressing one's desire to file a complaint and to have the DOT take appropriate action - Information about the flight, including the date and time of travel - Contact information, including a phone number, an e-mail address, and a complete mailing address
You may also contact the office directly at:
Aviation Consumer Protection Division U.S. Department of Transportation Room 4107, C-75 Washington, DC 20590 (202) 366-5957/5945
Their website address is http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/problems.htm
Contacting a Legal Advocacy Group Contact NAPALC or its Affiliates-the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Asian Law Caucus, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center-at:
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium 1140 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 296-2300
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund 99 Hudson St. 12th Floor New York, NY 10013-2869 (212) 966-5932
Asian Law Caucus 939 Market St. Suite 201 San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 896-1701
Asian Pacific American Legal Center 1145 Wilshire Blvd. 2nd Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213) 977-7500
You may also consider contacting other legal advocacy organizations as possible resources.
WAYS TO FIGHT PROFILING What you can do to fight racial profiling is to voice your concerns about the USA Patriot Act and express your support for the End Racial Profiling Act of 2001 (see "Fact Sheets" section for more information on these legislative measures).
One way of making your voice heard is to start an online petition by going to http://www.petitiononline.com, which is a website that provides free online hosting of public petitions for public advocacy purposes.
Another approach you can take is to contact your local member of Congress. A website called civilrights.org, which is operated and maintained by the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, provides an online congressional directory.
Alternatively, you could call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office of your local Senator or Representative.