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Iowa Unitarian Universalist Witness Advocacy Network
Ending the New Jim Crow

Iowa is # 1 in over-representation
of African Americans in our prisons,
and that's a very bad thing!


In Iowa per capita:
African Americans are arrested 8 times more than whites.  
African Americans are convicted 11 times more than whites.
African Americans are incarcerated 14 times more than whites.

The best place to fix this is to stop racial profiling. The Supreme Court has said it is illegal, but that hasn't stopped law enforcement. The ACLU has a model law to stop it and to require statistics tracking. Tracking is not done now which has led to surprising results when studies have been done.  The proposed law fixes that problem--the proposed legislation is at the bottom of this page.

The school to prison pipeline
The problem begins with out of school suspensions--they are the biggest predictor for dropping out of school, even before socio-economic status. Because 80% of prisoners are high school dropouts, ending out of school suspensions is the easiest thing we can do to curtail mass incarceration.  It's counter intuitive that a child who is trouble should be suspended and left with no supervision.

How are your schools doing? You can check Department of Education statistics
here.  This website is challenging to navigate--first click on "district" in the upper left hand corner--then put in the name of your city...and choices will appear at the bottom of the box. The statistics are at the bottom of the page--you get the demographic breakdown of the district and the demographic breakdown for suspensions and expulsions.  The Des Moines School Superintendent made a goal of ZERO out of school suspensions and last year they had reduced out of school suspensions by 66%, with zero expulsions! The places where this has worked, the whole community helped make it happen.

You can't just stop suspending kids, you have to put a new system in place to support school staff and the school kids. Of course, having enough great teachers goes a long way, but there are interventions that can make the paradigm shift possible:

Restorative/transformative justice
Restoring situations to what they were before the problem is the goal of restorative justice, but if things weren't swell before the problem, then transformative justice would be the goal--transforming the situation into something better.

A three minute video explaining restorative justice.

Here's a TED talk explaining brain science behind restorative justice.

Justice Circles:
Justice circles are a tool to creating restorative/transformative justice.  Justice circles can be used for merely creating community are for serious infractions--the more serious the goals, the more carefully executed to build a foundation of trust before dealing with painful issues.

Here's a 2 minute video giving an overview of justice circles. The Oakland, California school district started employing restorative justice and justice circles--and when the going got tough, the kids, all by themselves, called for a justice circle to work things out.


Current media
Paper Tigers is documentary currently showing in Theaters. This documentary shows the journey of a principal and his "aha" moment when he realizes that he's dealing with brain development

From the Nation Magazine
Determination to "do something" about the issue of mass incarceration has, at last, moved from the academic and activist worlds into the halls of Congress: at the beginning of October, a bipartisan coalition of Senators, including Chuck Grassley, Dick Durbin, Cory Booker, John Cornyn and Tim Scott, unveiled a criminal justice reform plan. Whether that "something" they're doing is commensurate to the scale of the problem, though, depends on the terms of the debate.
More...


ACLU Redraft of NAACP “Born Suspect” Model Bill Addressing Racial Profiling

SF ____

SENATE FILE ____
BY  _____________

An Act relating to law enforcement activities, prohibiting the use of discriminatory policing 
practices, providing a private right of action for civil enforcement of rights, requiring training 
and the collection of data, and including the establishment of a citizens’ review board.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

 

     Section 1.  NEW SECTION.  82.1  Statement of intent.

   The general assembly finds that profiling/discriminatory policing practices endanger the long 
tradition of work by law enforcement officers in this state to create a safe and welcoming place for 
people of all backgrounds. It is the intent of the general assembly to prohibit the use of 
profiling/discriminatory policing practices and to create a safer state for all, and this section shall 
be construed toward this end.

 

     Sec. 2.  NEW SECTION.  82.2  Definitions.

The definitions established by this section shall apply wherever the terms so defined appear in 
this chapter, unless the context in which any such term is used clearly requires otherwise.      

     1.  “Law enforcement officer” means any peace officer certified by the Iowa law enforcement 
academy and employed by a municipality, county, or state agency.

     2. “Housing status” means the character of an individual’s residence or lack thereof, whether 
publicly or privately owned, on either a temporary or permanent basis, including but not limited to:

     a. Ownership of an individual’s residence.
     b. Permanence or temporary nature of residence.
     c. Use of the shelter system. 
     d. Actual or perceived homelessness. 

     3. “Pretextual stop” means any law enforcement stop or temporary detention of a pedestrian or 
driver of a motor vehicle for a violation constituting any felony or misdemeanor offense, including 
a scheduled violation, for the purpose of investigating a separate and unrelated suspected felony 
or misdemeanor offense, including a scheduled violation.

     4.  “Profiling/discriminatory policing practice” means any law enforcement action against an 
individual by a law enforcement officer that relies, on any degree, on actual or perceived race, 
color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, 
immigration or citizenship status, language, disability, HIV status, housing status, occupation, or 
socioeconomic status in initiating law enforcement action, except when the action relies on a 
specific suspect description-based notification, an individual’s behavior, or when there is 
trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and time frame, that links the person to an 
identified criminal incident or scheme.
   

     5.  “Specific suspect description-based notification” means reasonably detailed physical 
descriptions by law enforcement officers of the personal identifying characteristics of potential 
suspects, including age, sex, ethnicity, or race, which shall not be based on generalized 
assumptions.  

     Sec. 3.   NEW SECTION.  82.3  Prohibition on discriminatory practices.

     A law enforcement officer is prohibited from engaging in profiling/discriminatory policing 

     Sec. 4.   NEW SECTION.  82.4  Civil Enforcement. 

     1.     A person who is subjected to profiling/discriminatory policing practices, including an 
organization whose interests are germane to the purpose of this section, may bring a civil action 
for profiling/discriminatory policing practices to enforce this section.

     2.     In a civil action for profiling/discriminatory policing practices, the following remedies shall be available:  

     a. Compensatory damages.

     b. Punitive damages. 
     c. Injunctive relief.
     d. Declaratory relief.
     e. Reasonable attorney’s fees, including expert fees.
     f. Any such other supplemental relief as the court deems appropriate.  

     3.      In an action brought under this section, relief may be obtained against any and all of the following:

      a. Any governmental body that employed any law enforcement officer who engaged in 
profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

      b. Any law enforcement officer who engaged in profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

      c. Any person with supervising authority over a law enforcement officer who engaged in
profiling/discriminatory policing practices. 

     d. A civilian employee who is employed with a law enforcement agency who engaged in 
profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

     e.  Any person with supervising authority over a civilian employee who is employed with a law 
enforcement agency who engaged in profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

     f.  Any party contracted by a law enforcement agency or acting as an agent of the law 
enforcement agency, if the contracted party or agent engaged in profiling/ discriminatory policing practices. 

     4.   a. An intentional profiling/discriminatory policing practice is established under this section 
when the petitioner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that a law enforcement officer 
has, or the law enforcement officers have, intentionally engaged in profiling/discriminatory 
policing practices against one or more people.  

      b. Upon a showing by the petitioner by a preponderance of the evidence that the law 
enforcement officer has, or the law enforcement officers have, intentionally engaged in 
profiling/discriminatory policing practices against one or more people, the burden of proof shifts to 
the respondent. It is an affirmative defense for the respondent to prove by a preponderance of the 
evidence all of the following:

      (1)     The profiling/discriminatory policing practice was necessary to achieve a compelling 
government interest.

      (2)     The profiling/discriminatory policing practice was narrowly tailored to achieve the 
compelling government interest.

      (3)     The law enforcement officer or law enforcement officers used the least restrictive means 
to achieve the compelling government interest.

     5. a. A disparate impact profiling/discriminatory policing practice is established under this 
section when the petitioner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the activities of law 
enforcement officers have had a disparate impact on people based on actual or perceived race, 
color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual 
orientation, immigration or citizenship status, language, disability (including HIV status), housing 
status, occupation, or socioeconomic status. 

     b. Upon a showing by the petitioner by a preponderance of the evidence that the law 
enforcement officer has, or the law enforcement officers have, engaged in activities that have had 
a disparate impact, the burden of proof shifts to the respondent. It is an affirmative defense for the 
respondent to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent had a substantial 
justification for the challenged activities, unless the petitioner establishes a comparably effective 
alternative policy or practice which results in a less disparate impact. 

     Sec. 5.   NEW SECTION.  82.5  Data Collection and Analysis. 

     1.     Not later than six months following the effective date of this Act, the Attorney General, in  

ACLU Redraft of NAACP “Born Suspect” Model Bill Addressing Racial Profiling
consultation with stakeholders, including federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and 
community, professional, research, and civil rights organizations, shall issue regulations for the 
collection of data pursuant to this Act. The regulations issued under this Act shall do each of the following: 

     a. Provide for the annual collection of data on all routine or spontaneous investigatory 
activities, and adopt a standardized form to be used by law enforcement agencies in collecting 
data to be submitted to the Attorney General.

     b. Require that each law enforcement agency shall publicize conspicuously the compiled data 
of the agency collected under this Act on at least a monthly basis on the law enforcement 
agency’s website, if applicable, or make data available electronically within 7 days upon request if 
the agency lacks a website.

     c. Require that each law enforcement agency shall maintain all data collected under this Act 
for not less than 4 years.

     d. Provide for the protection of privacy of the persons whose data is collected in the following manner: 

     (1)     A law enforcement agency shall not provide individual names and identifying information 
about either the particular law enforcement officer or law enforcement officers who made the stop 
or the person or persons stopped.

     (2)     A law enforcement agency shall not use or disclose the data collected under this Act 
except pursuant to the purposes set forth in this Act, and subject to the limitations of this Section 

     (3)     Except as otherwise provided in this Act, a law enforcement agency shall not grant 
access to data collected under this Act to any person except federal, state, local, or tribal 
employees or agents who require access in order to fulfill the purposes for the data set forth in 
this Act.

     (4)     A law enforcement agency shall require any contractor or other non-governmental agent 
who is permitted access to the data collected under this Act to sign a use agreement 
incorporating the use and disclosure restrictions set forth in this Section.

     (5)     A contractor or other non-governmental agent who is permitted access to the data 
collected under this Act shall sign a use agreement requiring the maintenance of adequate 
security measures to prevent the unauthorized access to the data collected under this Act as a 
condition of the contractor’s or agent’s contract with the state or law enforcement agency and 
access to the data collected under this Act.

     e. Require when practicable that each law enforcement officer who makes a stop shall provide 
a standard notice developed by the Citizens’ Review Board to each person stopped of the 
person’s right to file a complaint with the Citizens’ Review Board if the person believes that he or 
she has been stopped in violation of this Act.

     2.     Each law enforcement agency must report to the Attorney General all of the following 
information annually, which the Attorney General shall collect:

     a. Pedestrian and vehicular stops; 

     b. Identifying characteristics of the pedestrian or operator stopped, including perceived race, 
ethnicity, English language proficiency, gender, and age;

     c. The location and duration of the stop;

     d. The traffic violation or violations alleged to have been committed that led to the stop, if applicable;

     e. Any warning or citation issued as a result of the stop, if applicable;

     f. Information as to the existence of any search performed as a result of the stop, if applicable, 
including whether consent was given to perform the search, the probable cause or reasonable 
suspicion providing the basis for the search, which persons were searched, if any, what property 
was searched, if any, and the duration of the search; 

     g. The perceived age, gender, race, ethnicity, and English language proficiency of the person 
searched or of the persons in possession of the property searched, if applicable; 

     h. A complete description of the type and quantity of any contraband discovered or seized as a 
result of the search, including money, if applicable;

     i. A complete description of any physical force used by and against the law enforcement officer 
or law enforcement officers, if applicable;

     j. A complete description of the type and circumstances of any canine units or advanced 

3

ACLU Redraft of NAACP “Born Suspect” Model Bill Addressing Racial Profiling
technology used in the search, if applicable. 

     3.     An individual law enforcement officer may submit reports or complaints to the Attorney 
General regarding pedestrian or traffic stops made by other law enforcement officers related to an 
profiling/discriminatory policing practice, which may be submitted anonymously and which must 
be kept confidential. 

     4.     On or before July 1 of each year, the Attorney General shall compile the results of the 
information collected pursuant to this section and provide the compiled data to be analyzed to 
independent non-governmental experts or an independent agency with expertise in discriminatory 
policing, which experts or agency shall provide an annual data analysis to the Attorney General in 
statistical form. 

     5.     The Attorney General shall report law enforcement agency specific data in statistical form 
to the public conspicuously on its website on at least an annual basis, without revealing 
personally identifiable information.  

     Sec. 6.   NEW SECTION.  82.6  Citizens’ Review Board. 

     1.     a. The state shall establish a citizens’ review board to review complaints of 
profiling/discriminatory policing practices made against a law enforcement officer or law 
enforcement agency. 

     b. The board shall consist of the following persons:

      (1)     A representative from the Governor’s Office.

      (2)     A representative for an association of police chiefs in the state or association of sheriffs.

      (3)     A representative for the union of public employees representing police officers and 
sheriff’s deputies.

      (4)     A representative from the Iowa State Bar Association appointed from a list of attorneys 
submitted by the Iowa State Bar Association.

      (5)     A minimum of five representatives from advocacy groups that support communities 
of 
color, the LGBTQ community, undocumented immigrants, women, the Islamic community, 
homeless people, and people with disabilities.

      2.     a. Not later than six months following the effective date of this Act, the board shall adopt 
regulations to carry out the functions of the board pursuant to this Act, including the procedures 
and forms for persons to file complaints of profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

      3.     Not later than six months following the effective date of this Act, the board shall develop a 
standard notice form to be provided, when practicable, to each person stopped by the law 
enforcement officer who makes a stop notifying the person of their right to file a complaint with 
the board if the person believes that he or she has been stopped in violation of this Act.

      4.     Within 90 days of receiving a complaint, the board shall review and investigate 
complaints of profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

      5.     Upon completion of the investigation, the board shall determine if the stop or arrest was 
in violation of this Act.

      6.      If the stop or arrest was in violation of this Act, the board shall impose disciplinary 
measures against the law enforcement officer or law enforcement officers who engaged in the 
profiling/discriminatory policing practice.

      7.     A person, advocacy organization whose interests are germane to the purpose of this 
section, the board, or the Attorney General’s civil rights division, may bring an action in district 
court to enjoin a violation of this section, or to enforce the disciplinary measure ordered by the 
board following the board’s determination that a stop or arrest was in violation of this Act.
   

      8.     The findings of the board shall be admissible in any criminal or civil proceeding.
  

      9.     The board shall compile an annual report of all complaints received and investigated for 
profiling/discriminatory policing practices and submit the report to the Iowa General Assembly by 
November 1 of each year, which report shall be public record accessible from the board’s website.

      Sec. 7.   NEW SECTION.  82.7  Training.

      1.     All law enforcement agencies shall provide training to officers on issues related to the 
prohibition on profiling/unlawful discriminatory policing practices and on data collection and 
reporting methods. Every law enforcement officer in the state must participate in annual training 
pursuant to this Section. 

      2.     The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy shall develop and disseminate guidelines and 
ACLU Redraft of NAACP “Born Suspect” Model Bill Addressing Racial Profiling
training for all law enforcement officers.

      3.     All law enforcement officers must adhere to the standards approved by the Iowa Law 
Enforcement Academy on the racial and cultural differences among the persons within the 
jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency.

      4.     Guidelines and training developed by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy pursuant to 
this Section shall meet all of the following requirements:

      a. Guidelines and training shall emphasize officer understanding and respect for diverse 
communities and the importance of effective, non-combative methods of carrying out law 
enforcement duties in a diverse environment.

      b. The course of basic training for law enforcement officers shall include adequate instruction 
on diverse communities in order to foster mutual respect and cooperation between law 
enforcement and members of all diverse communities. 

      c. The curriculum shall utilize the Tools for Tolerance for Law Enforcement Professionals 
framework or its equivalent and shall include and examine the patterns, practices, and protocols 
that make up profiling/discriminatory policing practices.

      d. The training shall prescribe patterns, practices, and protocols that prevent unlawful profiling.

      e. The training shall include consideration of the identification of key indices and perspectives 
that make up differences among residents in a local community.

      f. The training shall include consideration of the negative impact of biases, prejudices, and 
stereotyping on effective law enforcement, including examination of how historical perceptions of 
discriminatory enforcement practices have harmed police/community relations, and shall provide 
instruction to officers on the perspectives diverse, local constituency groups and experts on 
particular cultural and police-community relations issues in a local area.

      g. The training shall include presentation of the history and the role of the civil rights 
movement and struggles and their impact on law   enforcement.

      h. The training shall instruct law enforcement officers as to their specific obligations to prevent, 
report, and respond to discriminatory or biased practices by fellow officers.

       6.     In developing the training, Iowa Law Enforcement Academy shall consult with groups and 
individuals having an interest and expertise in the field of cultural awareness and diversity, as well 
as advocacy organizations with an interest and expertise in the field of racial profiling.

     Sec. 8.     IMPLEMENTATION OF ACT.  Section 25B.2, subsection 3, shall not apply to this Act.

     Sec. 9.     SEVERABLILITY.     If any provision of this Act or any other provision of this law, or 
any amendments thereto, shall be held invalid or ineffective in whole or in part or inapplicable to 
any person or situation, such holding shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any portion of or the 
remainder of this Act, and all other provisions thereof shall nevertheless be separately and fully 
effective and the application of any such provision to other persons or situations shall not be 
affected.

      Sec. 10.     EFFECTIVE DATE.     This Act shall take effect 90 days following enactment.

 



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