Department of Justice Set to Ban Profiling by Federal Law Enforcement: Report

The Justice Department is expected in the coming weeks to ban federal law enforcement officers from profiling, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday night.

According to the Times, the new policy will bar federal authorities from using an individual’s ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation to target people for suspicion of a crime.

The U.S. Department of Justice is shown September 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to resign his position later today and the White House has indicated a successor to Holder has not yet been chosen. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The new policy will include an exemption for federal officers working on national security investigations, the Times reported, noting that congressional sources said officials concerned about terrorism lobbied hard for the exemption.

According to the Times, the new policy would also prohibit federal agents from surveilling mosques without evidence of criminal activity.

A congressional aide told the Times that Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced this week he will step down from his post, was supposed to announce the new change in policy several months ago. However, the White House put it on hold while officials looked into the effects it may have on national security.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the 44th Annual Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference on September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. It was announced recently that Holder will be stepping down from his position, which he has held since the start of the Obama administration in 2009. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Critics of profiling have long argued it should not be permitted for use by law enforcement officials.

Most notably, the American Civil Liberties Union contends online that racial profiling “presents a great danger to the fundamental principles of our Constitution.”

“Racial profiling disproportionately targets people of color for investigation and enforcement, alienating communities from law enforcement, hindering community policing efforts, and causing law enforcement to lose credibility and trust among the people they are sworn to protect and serve,” he ACLU says, calling the practice “despicable.”

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