"It's our supposition that law enforcement is specifically targeting people of color," said Curtiss Reed.
Reed said he has a file full of stories from people who say they were victims of racial profiling by police. But there is no evidence to prove it.
"Sort of the knee-jerk response on the part of law enforcement is we don't racially profile. When you ask, well provide us with the data that proves that you don't profile, they say, well we don't have any data. So there's always that element of suspicion, that we're not really being transparent," said Reed.
Reed chairs the Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The panel held a hearing Thursday-- exploring whether racial data should be collected during police contact such as traffic stops.
"I believe Vermont does have a problem with racial bias and profiling that must be investigated," said Deputy Defender General Anna Saxman.
Saxman told the panel about an African-American graduate student who had been stopped by police 13 times in one year but never given a traffic ticket. So there was no paper trail.
"One problem is much of what may be profiling is virtually invisible because many of the people who are the subject of racial profiling aren't charged with anything and they don't complain or come forward," said Saxman.
But Bill Sorrell, D-Vt. Attorney General, said collecting such data raises issues of privacy.
"When the legislature has considered this issue in the past, there has been a good deal of resistance to recording the information with personally identifiable information in the data if there is no criminal process that ensues from a stop."
The committee will cull through all the testimony and then make recommendations to policy makers.
The chairman said only two states-- Vermont and Mississippi-- don't collect racial data during traffic stops. A Vermont Law School professor who testified said we may be late, but we can learn from the experiences of other states.
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:20 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:20:30 GMT
Wayne Braun from People's United Bank joins us to talk about retirement and 401(k)s. Q. Why is employee education on retirement plans important? A. Well, we are often told that the most expensive purchaseMore >>
Wayne Braun from People's United Bank joins us to talk about retirement and 401(k)s.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:07 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:07:16 GMT
A new study stays teen birth rates have hit an all-time low across the country. The authors of this study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention call it amazing. Some states saw as much asMore >>
A new study stays teen birth rates have hit an all-time low across the country.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:04 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:04:45 GMT
A Bennington developer has won the permits he needs to restart a 200-year-old hydro power dam. Bill Scully bought the old Vermont Tissue Mill back in 2008, and that's when he started his quest to reviveMore >>
A Bennington developer has won the permits he needs to restart a 200-year-old hydro power dam.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:12 AM EDT2013-05-23 10:12:07 GMT
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, are now facing federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations. Other colleges facing complaints include Swarthmore College, University of Southern California,More >>
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, are now facing federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:06 AM EDT2013-05-23 10:06:37 GMT
Flash flooding in Burlington Wednesday night turned city streets into a kayaker's playground. "The drains in the city were all plugged with debris," says Lt. Pat Murphy with the Burlington Fire Dept. ButMore >>
Sudden storms caused flash flooding and left a man injured from a lightning strike.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:52 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:52:05 GMT
Another major Vermont brand is suing over trademark infringement. Magic Hat Brewing says the logo for Kentucky-based West Sixth Brewing is a rip-off of their Number 9 beer label. Magic Hat argues theMore >>
Another major Vermont brand is suing over trademark infringement.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:48 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:48:28 GMT
A Townshend man will be in court for breaking into a house and making himself at home. Police say last Friday and again on Wednesday, they caught 34-year-old Jesse Johnson living in another man's homeMore >>
A Townshend man will be in court for breaking into a house and making himself at home. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:25 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:25:30 GMT
A Williston car dealership is revved up about education. So, it's letting some schools drive off with some money. As part of its Drive for Education Program, Berlin City Auto Group just donated more thanMore >>
A Williston car dealership is revved up about education. So, it's letting some schools drive off with some money.More >>