Sunday, March 27, 2011

Racial profiling in McHenry County? yes or no

It wasn't long ago that McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said there was no racial profiling by deputies of his department. And that was after he had said it at least once before that. The second time was after an "investigation" had revealed no profiling.

There isn't? Ask Chicago Tribune reporters Bob McCoppin and Joe Mahr, who wrote a long article about just this topic this week-end. You can read it at www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-mchenry-profiling-20110326,0,1864956.story And read other stories about the thousands of tickets finally produced for a federal lawsuit by the Department after requests and delays - tickets with errors about race.

Now, you ask yourself. How would you classify the race of three men from the Chicago Tribune story? They are men with brown skin who spoke Spanish and were from Mexico, according to jail records. Their names are Pedro Lopez, Jose Salas and Pablo Toxqui-Zavala.

Hispanic or white? Not too hard, right?

McHenry County Sheriff's deputies identified them as "white". Agree?

How could that happen? It might have something to do with a phone call I received a while back, when I was told that, at roll call, patrol deputies had been told to "just mark everyone down as white".

The Tribune reporters did an in-depth study. The article is worth reading. So is a second article.

The headline for the second story is "Whistle-blower or not?" This one is about Zane Seipler, a deputy who had complained to his supervisor about what looked to him like racial profiling. Following the chain-is-command is what you do in a law enforcement agency. And you had better follow it! If you don't, you find yourself patrolling the night shift at the stockyards or out in Dogpatch. Of course, McHenry County doesn't have stockyards.

In Zane's case he was fired for something that other deputies had gotten three-day suspensions over. I'd say he is about to get his job back. An arbitrator ruled that a three-day suspension was appropriate discipline. A McHenry County Circuit Court judge agreed. The sheriff didn't like either decision and has appealed the case further. Motions are being submitted, hearings are or will be scheduled. Eventually, the appellate judges will rule. Will Zane get his job back then, along with back pay all the way back to 2008?

This second story is at www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-mchenry-profiling-side-seipler20110326,0,5192467.story

3 comments:

tiredofthenonsense said...

Mis-marking tickets is NOT the same as racial profiling. Hispanic is widely considered an ethnic designation NOT a race. The Federal Office of Management and Budget's (the folks who administer the census) policy is that the questioner should decide the race as the respondent will many times not make the right choice. The Tribune has some funny numbers concerning the percentage of the total popuation of McHenry County that are latino.

Gus said...

Here's the deal, tired.

Mis-marking tickets IS racial profiling, when it is done to disguise (lower or under-report) the actual number of Hispanics stopped/ticketed.

I think you know it. I know it. Deputies know it. The Court knows it.

Chet said...

Smoke and mirrors. The thing that resonates most with me is that the SOS only uses Black or White. When the Secretary of State (SOS) driver’s license display on the car computer says WHITE then put down WHITE. This is all to do about nothing. The state only designates White or Black and NOT HISPANIC.

The Tribune kept referring to these high ticket writers being PROMOTED. SWAT is not a promotion; it is a part time added duty that they only allow more qualified deputies to be on. Bruketta is K-9 which is NOT a promotion. The pay is the same as any other deputy with that number of years on the department.

Also usually K-9 officers will hang around high drug traffic areas looking for narcotic trafficers. They have the dog for a sniff if they have a likely character.