Illinois ACLU: Stop Consent Searches to End Racial Profiling
"We now know — beyond any doubt — that minority drivers are targeted for humiliating, degrading roadside searches even though there is no evidence that they have broken any laws." That's how Harvey M. Grossman, Legal Director of the Illinois ACLU interprets recent stats prepared by the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety for the Illinois Department of Transportation. According to the report, in 2006, Illinois police officers asked 0.68% of white drivers for consent to search their car during traffic stops, compared to 2.04% of minority drivers. The ACLU wants to redress this balance by eliminating ALL consent searches (i.e. a police request for a search despite a lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity). "State police forces in California and New Jersey have ended the practice of conducting consent searches," Grossman said. "The Illinois General Assembly should examine this data and move quickly to bar the practice in our state."