New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas today on WWL said allegations of racial profiling may be the toughest to handle.
"Racial profiling is one of the most important issues of our day. I would never say that I think it doesn't exist," the chief told WWL's Garland Robinette.
Serpas says cops aren't trained to view potential suspects along racial lines. Raymond Burkart, lawyer for the Police Association of New Orleans, says better record keeping could help the department rebut those claims when raised by the public.
"We've got to do a better job making sure that we have accurate data to insure that racial profiling doesn't exist," Burkart said.
Chief said it's not racial profiling to go look for specific suspects that match the descriptions given by crime victims. He said in seven out of ten crimes not involving drugs or guns, the victims are African-American, "and nine out of ten times, they described their perpetrator as an African-American male."
Burkart says that's the kind of thing the department needs to keep better records on:
"I do know from speaking to officers that they're not looking for specific people of specific races just to stop people for no reason," he said. "That's not the case at all."
Click here to listen to Garland Robinette's conversation with New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
Click here to listen to Garland Robinette's conversation with Police Association of New Orleans attorney Raymond Burkart.