South Carolina lawmakers are one step closer to approving the collection of racial profiling data from law enforcement in the state.
The State Senate Judiciary Committee sent a bill to the full chamber last week which would create a committee comprised of Senate and House lawmakers to review state and local law enforcement policies and practices regarding racial profiling. The committee would also make recommendations to the General Assembly proposing changes to such policies and practices, if necessary.
The resolution’s major sponsor is Sen. Gerald Malloy, a Black Democrat representing Darlington, S.C.
“I know what the prison population is,” he told the Morris News Service. “But I don’t know what the numbers are as it relates to those that have been charged and those that have been ticketed.”
Malloy went on to say the intent of the legislation is “benign” and that it has a limited scope.
“I don’t think it’s like curing world hunger,” said Malloy of his proposal. “It’s academic. We’re putting the numbers out there.”
Republican Sen. Sean Bennett, however, seemed interested in widening the committee’s lens to review other issues beyond profiling.
“I just want us to be able to take a broad look… at the issues that affect the minority community, specifically with regard to profiling, with regard to recidivism, with regard to criminality, the underlying reasons of that,” said Bennett, according to Morris News. “I’m all for that.”
The House version of the resolution is currently on queue in its Judiciary Committee.
Malloy’s proposal reflects growing scrutiny of policing practices and calls for improved relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve after a nationwide rash of Black killings at the hands of police highlighted by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.