McHenry County Deputies Targeting Hispanics?

Sunday, Mar 27, 2011  |  Updated 3:18 PM CDT
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McHenry County Deputies Targeting Hispanics?

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A Tribune investigation suggests racial profiling may be going on in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department.

The newspaper analyzed arrest and court records for people given traffic tickets in McHenry County. It then cross-referenced that with Census data listing the odds a person is Hispanic, based on their last name.

The Trib found that more often than not, several deputies were mislabeling Hispanic people as white on their reports. That means deputies could be targeting Hispanics, stopping them more often than other groups, and masking that fact by logging their race as white.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Department has now launched an internal investigation to find out if that’s the case.

A department attorney told the Tribune, “The sheriff is committed to making sure that there's not racial profiling going on.”

But according to the Tribune, Hispanics are 65 percent more likely to be stopped in McHenry County, than what should be expected based on their actual population. Why that would be happening, apart from racial profiling, is hard to understand.

One deputy was found to have been likely mislabeling 19 out of 20 people he stopped, who had predominantly Hispanic last names.

There’s no word on how long the internal investigation might take. But so far, no officers have been disciplined in this matter.

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