Court Says Black Men May Have Legitimate Reason To Flee Police

WBUR News quotes an opinion from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court:


We do not eliminate flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion analysis whenever a black male is the subject of an investigatory stop. However, in such circumstances, flight is not necessarily probative of a suspect’s state of mind or consciousness of guilt. Rather, the finding that black males in Boston are disproportionately and repeatedly targeted for FIO [Field Interrogation and Observation] encounters suggests a reason for flight totally unrelated to consciousness of guilt. Such an individual, when approached by the police, might just as easily be motivated by the desire to avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity. Given this reality for black males in the city of Boston, a judge should, in appropriate cases, consider the report’s findings in weighing flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion calculus.”

Read the article here.

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Leena is a 3L at HLS. She is from Tennessee. She received her B.A. in sociology and human rights from Columbia University. Prior to law school, Leena worked in communications at the NYCLU.

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