If you have encountered suspicion from law enforcement based on the color of your skin, you may have been the victim of racial profiling. For example, if you are speeding or weaving between lanes on the roads of Minnesota, you may not be surprised when a police officer pulls you over and questions your sobriety. On the other hand, if you have been driving along with the flow of traffic and an officer pulls you over, and makes a comment relating to your race, then that stop could be considered illegal. We at the Law Office of John J. Leunig are aware of the state laws that protect you from this type of behavior.
According to the Minnesota Statutes, law enforcement agencies are required to have a policy in place regarding racial profiling. Under the policy, officials cannot base a decision to instigate a traffic stop on your national origin, ethnicity or race. It is only legal if the officer initiated it because of suspicious or illegal behavior, or some other specific factor that can be expressed clearly. The one legal reason for basing a stop on skin color is a situation involving a search for someone with physical characteristics matching your own.
While racial profiling may be difficult to prove in some instances, a racial comment or insult, or an off-color joke may be an indication that the traffic stop was initiated for illegal reasons. An officer who speaks in derogatory language about your culture may also be providing a clue about an illegitimate reason for suspecting you of a crime. This behavior could be used as evidence that the officer has violated your rights to be free from unreasonable government intrusion. Visit our web page to find more information about traffic stops and drunk driving charges.