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Randall Evans

ENG 123
Prof. Alzen
Fall 2016
Research Proposal
Research Proposal
For my research proposal, I have decided and settled on the topic of racial profiling and
police brutality and law enforcement relations in America. With the recent occurrences and
happenings of police brutality this issue is an issue that continues to grow without steady decline.
This problem is a problem that continues to occur at an abnormal and alarming rate, with this
purpose of this proposal I hope to identify the issue of race relations in America, the problem that
currently exist as a result of these damaged relations; I will examine encounters between African
Americans , minorities and how they are treated by law enforcement. In order to delve into the
merits of this issue, and the ramifications if we continue to ignore it, I will examine legal
journals, scholarly articles, books, as well periodicals in order to gain better comprehension into
the perpetuation of this topic in reference to the effectiveness of the American criminal justice
system as an governing body. There are multiple opinions on this topic, opinions that purpose
radical change and reformation and opinions that consists of a logical more strategic approach to
the this problem. According the Joscha Legewie, an assistant sociology professor at Yale
University outlines the issues of racial profiling, and race relations in America in his article,
Racial Profiling and the Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of

Increased Discrimination. He had this to say, Racial profiling and the disproportionate use of
police force are controversial political issues. I argue that racial bias in the use of the force
increases after relevant events such as the shooting of black suspect. To examine this argument,
I design a quasi experiment using data from 3.9 million time and geocoded pedestrian stops in
New York City. The findings show that two fatal shootings of police officers by black suspects
increased the use of police force against blacks substantially in the days after the shootings.
Aside from the importance for the debate on racial profiling and police use of the force, this
research reveals a general set of processes where events create intergroup conflict, foreground
stereotypes, and trigger discriminatory responses. This professor offers a valid contribution to
the merit of this argument on why is law enforcement targeting certain ethnic groups, I hope to
identify the merit of these biases, and the effects of this prejudice in relation to my argument. It
is hard to pinpoint and single out the single cause of a problem of this magnitude but we can
hope to look the remnants of our past in order to better comprehend a steep racial divide; that
continues to plague America. By detailing the history of this issue I hope to juxtapose the past ,
current and even future events to work closer to finding a sustainable solution to this issue.
Racial discrimination and racial profiling is an problem that arose centuries ago, and
shaped how law enforcement was practiced. Their is legislation as well that was passed as a
result and was the direct causation of this problem, their are many court cases that made racial
discrimination and profiling from law enforcement easier to justify. These cases include Terry v.
Ohio (1968) which was the Supreme Courts first step to sanction racial profiling it was this
decision that developed the reasonable suspicion standard which is also considered the stopand-frisk rule. The Court, whose view given by the Chief Justice Earl Warren, held that the

Fourth Amendments prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a
police officer has reasonable suspicion. This momental Supreme Court decision was formative
in determining what was considered legal procedures by officers. Another critical decision that
determined the way officers perform searchers was the United States v. Brignoni-Ponce (1975)
The Court ruled against law enforcement on the grounds that it violated the Fourth Amendment
for stopping a vehicle solely on the basis that the driver looked Mexican.
Laws of this magnitude and their implications, helped shape the way police procedures
are searches are conducted, while establishing the precedent of how they continue to be
conducted as a result of these laws being passed. The last important, Supreme Court decision is
Whren v. United States (1996) which unanimously sanctioned racial profiling by allowing police
officers to make pretext stops wherein an officer pulls over a motorist for a traffic violation
with the specific intention of hunting for drugs. Laws like these proved to be preventative in the
reformation of the criminal justice system limiting the ability for police officers to effectively, do
their jobs free of prejudice and bias. It is evident that these laws make it was easier to justify
implicit bias, bias that makes it easier to be inherently bias and prejudice without any real
repercussions for their actions, more than not police offers are not not charged in the killings of
citizens who lost their lives wrongly. This only incites violence in communities of color and
citizens nationwide who are witnessing this prejudice first hand. This violence is dangerous and
destructive not only to conversation of policing but that, minorities are being killed at
disproportionate rate that other ethnic groups.

These are so many things , that can be researched when examining topics, and there are
many varying opinions on the causation of this issue as well as the feasibility of a potential
solution to this topic. This is especially difficult because of the inability to find a solution that is
specific enough to single the causes of racial profiling while discouraging and eliminate
discrimination and bias that exist in law enforcement. Advocacy is the most difficult portion of
my research to conduct, many have concentrated on a issue and the roots of racism, and how
racial profiling continues to be an ailment but few have answers to what can be done to shift this
narrative. Among the long exhaustive search for a solution, no legislation or revisions to
legislation, has been proposed either this is a topic that continues to be complicated. That is what
I will focus a lot of my research is the hope to find progress being made, on finding a factual,
logical solution to the continuation of racial prejudice as it pertains to law enforcement.

The type of argument I hope to develop is one driven by the examination and analyzation
to statistics, statistics that are telling to the seriousness of this issue, showing how bad his issue
has become due to the lack of awareness of attentiveness by most. I also hope to construct and
support an argument that is balanced in its critique of law enforcement, the criminal justice
system and its role in this issue. Developing a fair and often neutral opinion gives my writing
and research are wider variety and the better opportunity to reach multiple audiences who will
reason with the research that I have made and formulate their own opinion while pondering my
argument. There is not of working to be done and this research project is very far from the finish
line, but continuing to be persistent and diligent in the quality of the research I will be acquiring I

hope to continue to make strides week to week in order to achieve that goal. That has been
moves made and legislation proposed by President Obama to combat this problem, according to
Meg Stalcup professor at the University of Ottawa and Charles Hahn of University of
Washington they stated in their article the following In December 2014, President Obama
proposed $263 million for police training and body cameras, through a partnership program in
which states would match what they received in public funding. The actual congressional
appropriations budget for FY2016 whittled this down to $25 million for the cameras, but states
were already working on their own funding, and the number of pilot programs skyrocketed at
agencies around the country. Larger law enforcement agencies could and did faster than smaller
ones, so that in 2016 95 percent of major cities and countries reported that they were using body
cameras or planned to. Concerns were raised by nongovernmental organizations and activist
groups over potential invasions of privacy, manipulation of the devices by wayward officers, and
the fact were optimistic. They hoped that videos would resolve discrepancies between witnesses,
give lie to false claims, and protect officers from spurious accusations. In this article alone their
is a lot to unpack, but more than anything we examine a huge step by the Obama administration,
to combat the violence and unrest this issue has caused. Although this legislation was the first
step towards identifying with causation, it does not determine while body cameras are needed to
accompany the behavior of police officers and law enforcement in the first place.
The article also said this As these cycles of crisis illustrate, violent incidents between
members of the public are not new. What changed in the first decade of the 21st century is the
the cameras and social media became prevalent enough among cell phone-wielding citizens and
in official use by police departments, other parts of government, and businesses, to generate

ambient surveillance and thereby a greatly intensified mediated visibility. A loosely


coordinated camera infrastructure, turned policing into a highly visibility occupation. This
analysis from experts in the field, add to the argument of visibility of law enforcement, in the
media. This quote gives further relevance to my argument, that law enforcement is flawed and
not as effective as it could be based, on the implicit bias that exists among police officers.
This is an startling fact that due to the killings that have occurred the last few years by the
police in cases like Tamar Rice, Eric Garner , and Mike Brown in Missouri to name a few; more
than often the court of opinion has been very critical of the practices and ethics that law
enforcement agencies across the country seem to operate with. Another proposed method in
order to initiate reformation in the criminal justice system is implicit bias training for law
enforcement as described by Destiny Peery in an article written for Northwestern University
states Implicit bias training, the new favorite reform effort, is one of the least investigated of
those proposals. The goal of these trainings is simple: to make police officers aware of their
automatic, nonconscious stereotypes, such as the stereotype that all young Black men are
criminals, in order to overcome these biases, improving community relations and policing
efficacy. Implicit bias trainings, which seem to focus on raising awareness of nonconscious or
implicit biases, often do so without situating those biases alongside explicit biases, systemic or
institutional biases, and other issues that are likely to swamp any effects of implicit bias
awareness-raising. In other words, if were not confronting the ways the police culture or the
criminal justice system or media representations are biased against certain groups, awareness of
implicit biases will do little to prevent racial bias in policing or society more broadly. Many
researchers who study implicitly biases for a living, including the creators of the primary implicit

bias measure, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), caution against seeing implicit bias as the
newest one-size-fits-all approach to solving issues of bias and diversity. These researchers argue
that implicit bias is helpful to the extent that it adds to our toolkit of understanding how bias
operates, but research has not progressed to the point of suggesting concrete long-term ways to
eradicate these biases. Not only do these issues exist, but the biggest thing that stands in the
way of true change and reformation perhaps is the mindset from law enforcement, that these
instances where law enforcement feels as if they are not using, excessive and unnecessary force
when handling citizens. Another potential solution is police officers partnering with communities
in order to cooperate together to build a better safer neighborhood that both want to see. A
community that is safe from violence, and a neighborhood that is safe from the implicit bias and
prejudice from cops, that serve the community.
In conclusion, I believe their are many things that can be done in order to initiate
reformation in the criminal justice system, with the implicit bias training and cooperation with
the community to take small steps in building the community they would like to see. A constant
conservation on race relations in America and the treatment of African Americans and minorities
by police officers and the effects that this treatment has had on relations concerning the targeted
ethnic groups by law enforcement.