Lawmakers gave first-round approval Feb. 12 to a bill that seeks to strengthen enforcement of the state’s ban on racial profiling by law enforcement. LB924, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, would require each law enforcement agency in Nebraska to implement an anti-bias and implicit bias training policy to combat apparent or actual racial profiling practices.
Under the bill, each agency would be required to submit its adopted policy to the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Every law enforcement officer would be required to complete at least two hours of bias training during each calendar year. Additionally, LB924 would authorize the commission to withhold loans, grants, funds or donations from a law enforcement agency if the agency is found to have neglected to collect required vehicle stop demographic data. The funding could be reinstated once the reporting failure is corrected.
The bill, which must still go through two more rounds of voting before it could go to the governor, would require two hours of anti-bias and implicit bias training as part of the continuing education requirements for local police officers and sheriff’s deputies. The Nebraska State Patrol would have to offer training as well to try to prevent racial profiling.
Bias-Based Profiling Encounter.
Bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties. Racial profiling hinders effective police presence in the communities because it destroys trust and respect. If citizens are being stopped, searched, arrested, demeaned, and become victims of aggressive police encounters, then reducing criminal activities becomes harder because communities will not assist law enforcement officers. The biased encounters often lead to arrest and the use of excessive force by police officers.
Excessive force is the term described as using continued force even after a criminal has been subdued and has been justified in high intensity situations where the potential for serious bodily harm, mass bodily harm, and death were present.
Know your rights.
If you have been illegally detained, or met with excessive force by law enforcement in Omaha, Nebraska, do not escalate the situation by counter aggression. Let police complete the arrest and when you get to a place where there are more people, not just law enforcement officers, tell your side of the story. If you believe the detainment or verbal harassment is due to racial profiling or biased policing, make sure you have evidence. Eye-witnesses are important, get names and contact information. Take photos at the scene or video-tape incident or if you suspect someone videotaped incident, ask them for help. Get medical attention to assess injuries and ask for a report in case it is needed for proof in a court of law. File a misconduct report with a supervisor or higher authority of law, if you are afraid to do so with the Police Department in Omaha, hire an attorney or file a complaint with the Department of Justice.
Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through excessive force and bias-based profiling.
Seek legal counsel.
If you feel you have been a victim of excessive force and/or bias-based profiling by law enforcement in Omaha Nebraska, you should seek professional counsel at Rensch & Rensch Law Offices to file a complaint and have them review your case to see if you can sue for damages.