On February 24th, one of the members of our Board of Trustees reported an encounter with the Maplewood police that made him feel that he had been racially profiled, that he was not given an adequate explanation for being detained and questioned on the street, and that he was asked for his identification before being allowed to move freely again. Any such encounter is, at the very least, a disturbing experience for any individual in any town, and it is a particular cause for concern for us.
Indeed, the Community Coalition on Race is committed to a racially integrated and inclusive community where all people feel safe and welcome. While we have and will continue to support law enforcement, we oppose racial profiling. We are concerned that racial profiling endangers stable racial integration and true inclusion, and is unjust. We believe profiling harms the credibility of law enforcement, is ineffective, and is ultimately harmful to a diverse society.
Moving forward, we support efforts to help law enforcement personnel better serve our diverse community. We see an urgent need to create guidelines that protect the public welfare without jeopardizing the equitable treatment of all members of our towns. We stand ready to work constructively with the police department and town leaders to advance effective, racially sensitive community policing. Focusing on the essential priorities of public safety and equitable treatment for all of our residents can be a successful strategy that will benefit all of our residents and serve as a model for the growing number of diverse communities across the state.