Report Clears Deputy of Racial Profiling Claim

From Times Staff Reports

The Ventura County Grand Jury said Monday that a sheriff's deputy acted professionally and was not guilty of racial profiling last year when he stopped a black journalist in Moorpark.

Jurors said in a report released Monday that the deputy had cause to question Mark Jennings, then a Ventura County Star reporter, because he fit the general description of a man who had been stopped the previous day on suspicion of illegally selling cell phones.

But jurors recommended that the Sheriff's Department not rely on racial descriptions of suspects when making stops and not treat suspects differently because of their race. Also, if race is a legitimate factor in a stop, deputies should "fully explain why" and "not emphasize it disproportionately in reports or testimony."

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