Senate passes racial profiling bill

Tuesday, May 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would prohibit racial profiling, a measure opponents said is
not needed and could deluge the courts with frivolous complaints.

The Senate voted 38-8 for Senate Bill 1444 by Sen. Maxine Horner, D-Tulsa, after rejecting an attempt to send it back to a House-Senate conference committee with instructions to rewrite portions of the measure.

The bill would permit people who believe they were detained by police merely because of their color or ethnic appearance to file a
complaint with the state Human Rights Commission or their district attorney.

But Sen. Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, said other sections of state law already give the Human Rights Commission the authority to
investigate complaints that are filed with the agency.

Pruitt moved to send the bill back to the conference committee but a motion to adopt the conference committee report passed 17-12.

Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, said he had been opposed to the bill but changed his mind after a black friend told Shurden he had been stopped by police five times simply because he was black.

Sen. Gene Stipe, D-McAlester, said he once provided legal representation to some black teen-agers who had been arrested in Tulsa.

"There wasn't any evidence they had done anything wrong except they were black kids in a car at night," Stipe said.

The measure now goes to the House for debate and a vote.