ACLU: Sheriff Department’s ‘Gypsy Scams’ Alert Will Result In Racial Profiling

Yesterday, the ACLU of Colorado sent a letter to Arapahoe County Sheriff J. Grayson Robinson criticizing the department’s “Gypsy Scams” alert, and demanding that Robinson rescind it. The alert describes “Gypsies” as “medium to dark complexioned Caucasian” with “dark hair and dark eyes” who “are often mistaken as Hispanic,” and warns that “Gypsies” commit major crimes like fraud and burglary. Marc Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director said of the alert: “The investigation of crime should focus on behavior, not complexion. To avoid racial profiling, law enforcement must discard ethnic stereotypes and focus on specific evidence about specific individuals.” The letter also noted that a similar police bulletin in New Jersey resulted in litigation charging a New Jersey police department with illegal racial profiling.

Alex Brown