The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is charging that field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are engaged in "unconstitutional and widespread" ethnic and racial profiling, stereotyping certain types of crimes to entire minority communities.
As revealed in documents the ACLU has obtained so far through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), targeted communities include:
- Arab Americans in Michigan;
- African-Americans in Georgia;
- Chinese and Russian-Americans in California;
- Broad swaths of Latino-American communities in multiple states.
The FBI has also engaged in religious profiling of Muslim American communities in Michigan. "Based on false stereotypes ascribing criminal propensity to minority communities, the FBI is collecting demographic data to map where people from these communities live," the ACLU said.
The group added, "Nationwide, the FBI is gathering reports on innocent Americans' so-called "suspicious activity" and sharing it with unknown numbers of federal, state and local government agencies."
In response, the ACLU said its "Mapping the FBI" initiative seeks to expose misconduct, abuse of authority, and unconstitutional profiling and other violations of Americans' rights and liberties across the country.
"As our nation's predominant law enforcement agency, the FBI should be tracking true threats, not wasting resources and inappropriately mapping American communities on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Law enforcement programs based on evidence and facts are more effective than a system based on racial stereotypes or mass suspicion," the ACLU said.