A Black female immigration agent sued New Mexico’s Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday for racial profiling after deputies pulled her over three times in less than a month without probable cause, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“Our client is an accomplished federal agent who was targeted for driving while Black. BCSO unlawfully and repeatedly stopped her because she fit a racial profile. Targeting people because of the color of their skin is unconstitutional and bad policing,” said the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sherese Crawford.
A deputy pulled over Crawford, 38, in April on suspicion of driving a stolen car. Her vehicle, however, was a rental provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Later that month, a different deputy, identified as Patrick Rael, stopped Crawford for tailgating. Rael told Crawford that he recognized her name after examining her drivers license. He recalled seeing a report that said she had an “attitude” during the previous traffic stop. Days later, Rael pulled her over again, this time for driving too slow. Crawford did not receive a warning or citation for any of the three traffic stops.
The lawsuit seeks payment to Crawford for damages and calls on the sheriff’s department to institute a policy against racial profiling. The sheriff’s office declined to comment on the case but pointed to an anti-bias policing policy posted online that requires deputies to report violations to their supervisor. Meanwhile, in a separate matter, civil rights groups are criticizing the department over nine shootings by its deputies during a four-month span.
SOURCE: U.S. News & World Report