America, the land of free. Where we take our civil liberties and freedoms really seriously. However, we’re still far from a situation where all citizens are treated equally. And no, we aren’t talking about racial discrimination right now.
We’re talking about the profiling of motorcyclists as criminals and the consequent discrimination at the hands of the Police. If you’ve been riding long enough, you know what we’re talking about.
There have been many instances across the nation of riders being targeted by the police discriminatively. This is a serious annoyance for many of us.
Thankfully, a bunch of legislators across the country are raising their voice for us. Recently, a new legislation was introduced in California.
Pursuant to this new legislation, police officers will be trained to ensure indiscriminate treatment towards bikers. Written policies will further ensure the objectives of the law.
Amendments are to be made to the California Penal Code, which will read as:
(a) The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training shall ensure that the profiling of motorcycle riders is addressed in the course of basic law enforcement training and offered to law enforcement officers in conjunction with existing training regarding profiling.
(b) Every local law enforcement agency shall adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent the profiling of motorcycle riders and shall review and audit existing procedures, practices, and training materials, to ensure that they do not enable or foster the practice of profiling motorcycle riders.
(c) For purposes of this section, “profiling of motorcycle riders” means using the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle paraphernalia as a factor, without any individualized suspicion of the particular person, in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle, with or without legal basis under the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.
With this, we expect police officers to stop the discriminatory treatment many of them have been meting out to us since a very long time. Opponents, however, question the need for such a legistlation claiming that the safeguards for the same are already present in the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. They further argue that this may protect criminals. Perhaps, they’ve never heard the Blackstone’s famous maxim:
“Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”