Scott hopeful for new law


Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott said Thursday she is optimistic that Congress will pass a tougher racial profiling law. She spent two days this week in Washington, D.C., lobbying lawmakers to do just that.

“There’s unanimous agreement, or seems to be, that we have a problem with racial profiling,” she said. “There seems to be a sense we need to do something about it. The question is what do we need to do.”

Scott met with U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and legislative staff of other members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation. She also attended a packed Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday on a new racial profiling bill.

She did not testify before the committee as she had hoped, but NAACP Washington bureau director Hillary Shelton did provide input.

Congress first tackled the issue of racial profiling a decade ago, after President George W. Bush said in 2001 that racial profiling is “wrong, and we will end it in America.”

The recent shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has put the issue back in the spotlight.

While senators at Tuesday’s hearing all spoke against the concept of racial profiling, some expressed uncertainty about the bill as it now stands.

“I think I understand the problem,” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the hearing. “I just don’t know where the line between good law enforcement and racial profiling begins and ends.”

Graham was particularly concerned that any new racial profiling law not hamper national security efforts to monitor would-be terrorists.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.