The controversy over racial profiling in policing that is explored within the pages of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice echoes the violent debates within French society regarding the police – debates that take place not only in specialized journals but in the outside world as well: One only has to think about the repeated recurrence of urban riots, or ‘‘race riots,’’ to use the term common in the United States (Waddington, Jobard, and King 2009). One of our research projects, which focused on racial profiling, has been the source of numerous discussions in France (Open Justice 2009; Le ́vy and Jobard 2010). More precisely, our research examined racial profiling within stop- and-searches (controˆle d’identite ́) executed by the police. Financed by the Open Justice program, it was carried out with the help of John Lamberth (Lamberth Consulting), Indira Goris, and Rachel Neild (Open Justice Initiative). In five heavily frequented places in Paris, we tasked observers to follow police officers furtively and to register, via mobile phone, the characteristics of the persons who were stopped and searched. The telephones allowed the observers to remain unnoticed and to send their coded data via SMS to a server located in the United States. More than 500 persons who were stopped and searched were recorded, of which we now know gender, age (young or not young), type of bags (no bag, big bag, other bag), style of clothing, and race. We also coded and registered the traits of the overall population at these places (benchmarking), thus cataloguing the variables related to around 37,000 persons. Comparing the variables for the persons stopped and searched with those of the overall population, we could demonstrate possible profiling practised by the police.
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