Pandemic Is No Excuse for Discriminatory Policing

Contact: Shin Inouye, [email protected], 202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – Lynda Garcia, policing campaign director of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on discriminatory policing practices during COVID-19:

“We are witnessing law enforcement around the country practice discriminatory policing under the guise of protecting the public from COVID-19. Some police officers are singling out people of color who are wearing masks because they supposedly look suspicious, while others are targeting them for not wearing masks. For communities of color, this is yet another lose-lose scenario.

“Some police departments are even considering using drones to enforce social distancing and monitor crowds. Any benefit of such a move would be outweighed by the exacerbation of racial profiling and violation of people’s civil rights. Law enforcement’s primary objective during this crisis must be protecting the public, not using technologies that result in discriminatory policing practices. Police must work to build trust with the communities they serve to meet the shared interest of protecting everyone’s safety and health.”

Previously, The Leadership Conference issued “Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data,” which called for a stop to high tech profiling. Those principles are available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit