The Fourth Amendment of the American Constitution states that people have a right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against any unreasonable searches and seizures. Furthermore, it enables the members of the society to challenge any such instances on the basis of the Equal Protection Clause. However, despite the above-stated constitutional protection, civil rights activists have for years felt that state institutions in general and law enforcement agencies in particular have frequently indulged in instances of selective profiling while questioning/detaining individuals, conducting search operations, or while denying individuals access to certain facilities.
It is widely felt that race or ethnicity often plays the most important role in most profile-driven law enforcement activities, tracking its roots to the drug enforcement operations in the 1970s and 1980s when race – as a factor – began to increasingly surface in most apprehensions and convictions, hence unfairly influencing the profiling process. Following the increased media attention on the possibility of unfair racial profiling by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration and its spillover effect on other law enforcement agencies, specifically the police, an inquiry was launched by the Department of Justice, and now more than 20 US states have specific laws to deter and counter any race-driven acts of search and seizure by their respective police departments. (Muffler, 2006)
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