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Support builds for targeting discrimination against bikers

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm | 6 Comments »
January 19, 2011 3:08 pm

Rep. Steve Kirby has revived a bill that aims to prevent police discrimination against motorcycle riders.

Motorcyclists descended on Olympia last year, complaining that police pull them over and search them for no reason except for their choice of clothing and vehicles.

It’s profiling, they say. So Kirby modeled his bill on one that cracked down on racial profiling. It requires police departments to have policies and training in place to prevent discrimination.

A similar bill last year passed 96-2 in the House, only to die in the Senate. But this year it has a companion bill in the Senate supported by Sen. Jim Hargrove, so it could have a better chance. Kirby said the Senate bill is the version he expects to move forward.

Police groups say it’s unnecessary and police don’t target motorcycles. Kirby acknowledges the problem is not widespread, but it happens in some areas, he says.

“It’s just like racial profiling was in its day,” Kirby said. “It wasn’t all police and it wasn’t everywhere.”

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