Racial profiling violates the United States Constitution’s premise that all people are equal under the law, as well as the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee that people should be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Racial profiling has been found to result from individual officer racism or stereotyping, from institutionalized biases, and from the organizational culture of law enforcement agencies. We begin this Article by discussing the history of racial profiling before proceeding to consider various studies from a select number of American jurisdictions. We then examine important methodological and theoretical issues in conducting research on racial profiling and racially biased policing, including a detailed discussion of our research with the Washington State Patrol (WSP). These issues are important to consider because if studies of racial profiling are not based on sound scientific principles, then those who deny the existence of the problem can attribute revelations of bias to faulty research methodology. The Article concludes with a response to the critiques of our methodology and conclusions presented by Professors Mario Barnes and Robert Chang.
Clayton Mosher and J. Mitchell Pickerill, Methodological Issues in Biased Policing Research with Applications to the Washington State Patrol, 35 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 769 (2012).