The California Highway Patrol agreed to stop using minor traffic violations as a pretext for searching cars for drugs under a settlement of a racial-profiling lawsuit announced today.
The agency will also extend a ban on so-called consent searches, in which officers ask motorists for permission to search their cars even if there is no probable cause to do so.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the class-action suit three years ago on behalf of African-American and Latino motorists who said they were the victims of racial profiling by highway patrol officers, called the agreement a landmark in civil liberties law.
”This is a ground-breaking settlement,” said Jon B. Streeter, the civil liberties union’s main lawyer in the case. ”While there have been quite a few racial-profiling cases around the country in the last 10 years, none of them have resulted in the kinds of reforms we’ve gotten the C.H.P. to agree to here.”
Under the settlement, the highway patrol will also compile comprehensive statistics on each traffic stop, including the driver’s race, reason for the stop, whether a search was conducted and the legal basis for the search.
Source; the New York Times