Racial and ethnic proﬁ ling has real costs, and laws that enable it often have unplanned
consequences, four experts involved in studying and combatting proﬁ ling said Wednesday night in a forum
prompted in part by the East Haven police proﬁ ling investigation.
While the event was billed, “Racial Proﬁ ling: Islamophobia, East Haven, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline,”
much of the discussion wandered far aﬁ eld from the East Haven federal investigation, touching on discrimination against Muslim Americans, the federal government’s controversial new Secure Communities program and
the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Racial proﬁ ling — including Secure Communities, which essentially deputizes local police as immigration
agents — erodes conﬁ dence in law enforcement, said Michael Lawlor, former East Haven state representative
and now undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning for the state Ofﬁ ce of Policy and Management.
Beyond that, “proﬁ ling makes us stupid,” said fellow speaker Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who said viewing someone as suspicious because of their ethnic or racial appearance might cause a law enforcement ofﬁ cer or agent to miss other clues
that something is amiss.
Lawlor and Dhaouadi were among four speakers at the forum, which the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sponsored along with the St. Joseph Colle