Attorney General Ashcroft's Remarks at the American Society of Newspaper Editors Luncheon (excerpts)

"...I've also begun work on the issue of racial profiling. This was a concern of mine in the United States Senate. Of recent campaign finance reform fame, Russ Feingold, the senator from the state of Wisconsin, he and I conducted hearings on racial profiling -- the first hearings in the United States Senate -- for citizens who have committed no crime, have been stopped only because of their race. I believe that undermines and erodes their ability to have confidence in the legal system and to participate constructively in that legal system.

Too often -- and incidentally, any incidents make the incidence too often -- people have been stopped for "driving while black," rather than having made some infraction, and it's time for us to put an end to treating people based on their race and to apprehending them or otherwise asking them to encounter the law enforcement community in a way which is disrespectful merely because they are not of one race or another.

The Justice Department, of course, is undertaking a review of all federal law enforcement agencies and policies with regard to race, to make sure that we don't inappropriately deal with people based on their race. It's unacceptable for the federal government to do so. I think it's wrong for any government to do so. I believe it to be a breach of the constitutional rights of individuals if they are interfered with or otherwise treated in a way which singles them out because of their race..."

Source: "Attorney General Ashcroft's Remarks at the American Society of Newspaper Editors Luncheon" U.S Department of State, International Information Programs 04 April 2001.

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