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Del. Curt Anderson.

Bikers ask for law condemning profiling

Bikers rolled into Annapolis on Thursday to support a bill that would require police be instructed not to profile them based solely on their membership in a motorcycle organization.

Del. Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore City, pulled several supporters from the crowd, which filled the House Judiciary Committee hearing room, and showed the committee a marketing executive, a fashion photographer and a Department of Homeland Security employee.

“You can’t simply stop somebody for being black… I don’t think you can use the fact that a person is wearing colors, driving a big Harley and making a lot of noise driving down the street,” Anderson said.

Bikers spoke of profiling incidents, from multiple agencies responding to provide backup for a rider stopped for a technical helmet violation to groups being detained for extended periods for traffic infractions then released with no citation.

House Bill 785 would require the Police Training Commission to condemn motorcycle profiling and provide entry-level training as well as in-service training relating to profiling.

The ACLU filed written testimony in support of the bill, also drawing the comparison to racial profiling.

“Having the Police Training Commission add information on motorcycle profiling in their current training materials can only benefit everyone, by helping to raise awareness of any implicit bias officers may have against those who ride motorcycles or wear clothing associated with those who ride motorcycles,” the ACLU stated.

The bill was cross-filed in the Senate as Senate Bill 233, which passed 47-0 last week.