OKLAHOMA CITY - Racial profiling is now officially illegal in Oklahoma. That's the word from Senator Maxine Horner, the author of legislation that makes targeting individuals based on their race or ethnic background illegal for law enforcement officers.
Senate Bill 1444 was signed into law this week and marks a change in the way racial profiling complaints are handled.
Oklahoma has always had a policy prohibiting such profiling, but this legislation makes the practice illegal.
"This legislation is long overdue," said Senator Maxine Horner, D-Tulsa. "Racial profiling has been prevalent for a long time, but now we finally have concrete laws on the books making it illegal. I think Oklahomans deserve to be treated equally in dealings with law enforcement, and this law levels the playing field for everyone."
Under the provisions of the bill, the commission will be obligated to forward any complaints to the arresting officer's employer, but the measure stops short of giving the Human Rights Commission the power to investigate complaints.
"I've had many people tell me they've been victims of racial profiling but by making this practice a misdemeanor offense, I hope now the law enforcement officers who routinely utilize racial profiling in their work will think twice before making unfounded assumptions," said Horner.