BNCL Law Firm - Burris, Nisenbaum, Curry & Lacy

Racial Profiling Lawyer ‘Driving While Black’ – Illegal Search and Seizure

July 15, 2015
By: John Burris
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Four men standing on a street corner does not constitute probable cause to question them about illegal activity. Two young girls driving in a car with loud music does not give police sufficient reason to pull them over. Yet this sort of racial profiling, commonly known in the African-American community as “Walking While Black” or “Driving While Black,” occurs every day.

Nor do you need to be African-American to be the victim of racial or ethnic profiling. The Law Offices of John L. Burris has represented clients in the Latino, Korean and Chinese communities, and a wide cross-section of clients whose constitutional rights were blatantly violated.

Were You Stopped and Searched Because of Your Race or Ethnicity?
Contact BNCL at (510) 839-5200. Attorney John Burris represents clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and across Northern California.


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Racial Profiling is Illegal

Just because a certain part of town is a hotbed of criminal activity does not make a particular individual guilty by association. It does not give police the right to detain or harass a person because they “fit the profile” or “looked suspicious.” Unless they observe a crime or act on credible information, police are bound by the Fourth Amendment (the right against unreasonable search and seizure) and the Fourteenth Amendment (the right to due process). Renowned civil rights lawyer John Burris has successfully represented many clients in lawsuits arising from racial profiling.

A common scenario involves pulling a car over on a flimsy excuse (for example, registration one month expired, or “erratic driving”). Police then use that as a basis to search the car, hoping to find drugs, guns, intoxication or other evidence that supports their unjustified traffic stop. Another tactic is to aggressively question people whose only crime is walking down the street or hanging out. Police will harass and provoke them into a trumped-up charge of resisting arrest or disorderly conduct, providing the basis to search and detain the person.

Racial profiling is lazy police work founded on bias. With experienced legal counsel, it should be revealed for what it is — unconstitutional and inexcusable. Contact BNCL Law Firm today.

Please assist us in our efforts to gather data about racial profiling. Click here to complete a survey on racial profiling. End Racial Profiling.

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