- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 29, 2000

Here's a great way to get people off the subject of race: have police officers obsess about the ethnic background of every person stopped for a traffic violation so that bean counters at the Justice Department can puzzle over "disparate impact" and whether skin color has anything to do with being pulled over for speeding.

That's just what Montgomery Count y police will be doing henceforth. It will even be high-tech racial bean counting. Each cop will use a hand-held personal computer to record the race, sex and age of all motorists they stop. In addition to this, there will be mandatory "diversity training" designed to appease those who appear determined to balkanize the country for their political and financial benefit.

The race computers cost the county $373,000 and were adopted, according to Police Chief Charles M. Moose, as part of an "agreement" with the Justice Department which had been conducting a three-year probe of county police over incidents of alleged unfair treatment of minority/ethnic motorists. However, the Justice Department probe found no evidence to support the 300-odd charges leveled by minority motorists and a local chapter of the NAACP. They had claimed evidence of unfair treatment existed in the mere statistical fact that more tickets were issued to African-American drivers (21 percent of all tickets), even though African-Americans comprise 15 percent of Montgomery County's population.

Absent actual evidence that cops were hassling minority motorists, this kind of "logic" is comparable to sniffing out "racism" in a Chinese restaurant, simply because the majority (or even all) the waiters happen to be Asian. Numbers do not necessarily tell us anything more than how much or how many not the more subjective why. It's hard to see how fixating on the race of people stopped for traffic offenses will address that issue. Shouldn't it be of greater concern simply to encourage that laws be enforced uniformly and fairly? What, exactly, has skin color got to do with whether a person ran a red light or violated the speed limit?

"The key to ridding this perception (of police racial profiling) is that police should and must go after people based on what they've done, not who they are," Montgomery County Council member Philip Andrews told The Washington Post. Amen to that.

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