A bill introduced yesterday by Democratic Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed [photo] would have police officers record the “perceived” sexual orientation of drivers stopped for infractions. The Fair & Impartial Policing Act is endorsed by the ACLU of Missouri and is part of a broad anti-profiling campaign. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
“This is not an attack on law enforcement,” state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, said at a St. Louis news conference with co-sponsor Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, and others announcing the bill. “We’re trying to weed out the bad cops.”
The legislation seeks to require officers to gather the demographic data for pedestrian stops as well as traffic stops. Its backers acted in part as a result of the unrest in Ferguson that followed a pedestrian stop.
It would also put what supporters call “teeth” into the data-collection process, with real-world consequences for police departments that display a pattern of singling out minorities in their interactions with the public.
But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the proposed new process is how much the police officer would be expected to discern about the driver or pedestrian, beyond readily apparent factors like race and gender.
Under current statute, they must record “the age, gender and race or minority group of the individual stopped.”
Under the proposed new law, which would replace that statute, the officer would be required to record “the perceived race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, English language proficiency or national origin of the individual stopped.”
Well, this will certainly prove interesting.