Two Tennessee legislators have introduced a bill to help stop racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, a press release said.
The bill was introduced Thursday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, a Germantown Republican, and State Representative John DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat.
In the press release, Kelsey said the bill was created as a result of the events that took place earlier this year in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson during a pursuit of the unarmed teenager. The shooting sparked a national debate about law enforcement’s relationship with African Americans as it relates to the use of force and racial profiling, the release said.
The “Racial Profiling Prevention Act” defines the discriminatory practice and calls for all law enforcement agencies in the state to adopt a written policy to prevent it by January 1, 2016.
“Whether you agree with the decision of Ferguson or not, we should all agree that racial profiling has no place in law enforcement in our state,” Kelsey said.
The release said Senate Bill 6 defines racial profiling as the detention, interdiction, or other disparate treatment of an individual based solely on perceived race, color, ethnicity, or national origin. The bill would apply to any law enforcement agency responsible for preventing and detecting crime and enforcing laws or local ordinances if their employees are authorized to make arrests for crimes. It would also apply to officers employed by colleges and universities.
The Tennessee General Assembly will convene to begin the 109th General Assembly on January 13.