Rainbow/PUSH Leader Says Profiling Must End On Both Sides Of Atlantic

LONDON (CBS) – Civil rights activist and Chicago legend Rev. Jesse Jackson is starting a group in the United Kingdom to oppose what he calls the abuse of police powers to stop and search people.

The group, called StopWatch, wants to stop police from disproportionately stopping and searching ethnic minorities.

Last week, Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission published figures saying 15 percent of those stopped and searched by police were black. Black people comprise 2 to 3 percent of the population.

Members of StopWatch, including activists and academics, aim to work with government to ensure that recently announced policing reforms are fair.

Launching his group Monday, Jackson called for an end to policies that lead to racial profiling on both sides of the Atlantic.

Jackson told the London-based Guardian newspaper that, “We’ve gone through this process in our country of ethnic and religious targeting,” and it, ” resulted in disastrous consequences.”

He said the act “undermines the moral authority of the democracy,” the Guardian reported.

The newspaper reported that research for the group the Open Justice Society Initiative indicates that African-Caribbean people are 26 more likely to be stopped and searched under Britain’s Public Order Act, which does not require a police officer to have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.

Research also shows that in cases where a crime is suspected, black people are still 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched in some areas of Britain than white people, the Guardian reported.

Jackson heads the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, which is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago.

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