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ACLU: State Police Racially Profile In Vehicle Searches

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Illinois State Police Crown Victoria Interceptor (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Illinois State Police Crown Victoria Interceptor (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal complaint, seeking to stop the Illinois State Police from searching cars during traffic stops without any apparent reason.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the ACLU says statistics supplied by the state indicate more black and Hispanic drivers are asked to allow state troopers to search their cars for illegal drugs and other contraband during traffic stops, when it’s actually white drivers who are more often found with something illegal.

“We think that the Illinois State Police have a well-ingrained practice of discriminating among drivers in the performance of consent searches, and we think that they should be ordered to stop,” said Illinois ACLU legal director Harvey Grossman.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The ACLU also claims that almost all drivers – between 94 and 99 – consent to searches when asked by state police troopers, suggesting that they are coercive and not really voluntary.

The organization says state officials have known about the problem for some time. But Grossman says Gov. Pat Quinn will not do anything about the alleged discrimination, so the ACLU is taking its case to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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