Federal judge strikes down ethnic profiling

A glimmer of hope from the New York Times, Nov. 24:

A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled on Monday that the United States government could not use ethnicity as justification for detaining two Egyptian-born men who were questioned for four hours after a cross-country flight in 2004.

The two men, Tarik Farag, a former New York City police officer, and Amro Elmasry, who was working in Egypt for General Electric, sued the government, saying the questioning was unjustified. The government said that the men, who were arrested but not charged with any crime, had acted strangely during their flight from San Diego to Kennedy International Airport and that two counterterrorism agents had observed them switching seats, checking their watches often and speaking in Arabic.

The government said that the men’s ethnicity was a factor in deciding to detain them, and argued that it was an acceptable factor.

But Judge Frederic Block of United States District Court in Brooklyn disagreed. In response to the government’s request for a determination without a trial, the judge said there was enough merit for the case to continue. He cited the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II in saying that the 9/11 terrorist attacks should not justify detaining a suspect based on race.

See our last post on the domestic police state.