Remedying an elusive practice such as racial profiling remains a challenging issue for the judiciary and reformers must rely on other avenues for a solution. For example, even where evidence demonstrates that minorities are disproportionately stopped and searched, courts rarely recognize the victim's claim or provide relief. Thus, it is clear that courts will not be the catalysts of change. This Article argues that while courts may be reluctant to provide judicial remedies, police departments themselves should not ignore [minorities'] perceptions [of racial discrimination] and should take measures to reduce any possible profiling and increase partnerships with communities. An indication that a police department may be engaging in racial profiling has a detrimental and far-reaching impact not only on the individuals who experience it first-hand, but also on other members of the targeted community. Ultimately, this pernicious practice threatens to undermine legitimacy in law enforcement and the criminal justice system for large segments of society, which impacts society as a whole. [This Article] concludes by suggesting proactive remedies institutions and policymakers should consider to alleviate the tensions between communities and police officers with respect to racial profiling. Data collection efforts are imperative to educating the public and police agencies about racial profiling, but these efforts fall short as a long-term remedy. Therefore, in addition to data collection during traffic stops, this Article proposes several policy solutions that the federal government and state legislatures should implement to address racial profiling within local law enforcement agencies.

This abstract has been adapted from the author's introduction.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011

Publication Information

18 Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice 25-54 (2011)


Written for the symposium Traffic and the War on Drugs (2011) at Washington and Lee University School of Law.