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Civil Rights Commission Sees New Incidents of Profiling

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission is stepping up its efforts to educate Hoosiers and help prevent racial profiling after a recent spike in reported incidents.

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission has reported several probable cause findings of racial profiling in the last three months, meaning there’s reasonable suspicion profiling occurred. 

The cases vary – from an employee being denied advancement opportunities to three African-American women wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a clothing store. 

ICRC spokesman Brad Meadows says the state agency’s role goes beyond investigating rights violation complaints.  He says the commission is also working to educate the public on what to do when they find themselves in similar situations.

“I often encourage people to look at us as a resource hub,” Meadows said. “So even if you’re unsure whether you’ve faced discrimination but something just doesn’t seem right or you were treated differently or unfairly, call us.”

Meadows says the commission’s education efforts are also focused on businesses, particularly among front-line employees.

“They receive a lot of information on how to do their job and the policies and procedures of the organization but I think some of the anti-discrimination laws, some of those things like racial profiling kind of get lost,” Meadows said.

Meadows says while complaints received by the Civil Rights Commission are predominantly from African-Americans, he says complaints from Hispanic Hoosiers are on the rise as that population segment grows.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.