Latinos have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become the largest minority group in the U.S. There are an estimated 55 million Hispanic people in the United States, comprising over 17% of the population. California is the state with the largest Hispanic population an estimated 15 million, followed by Texas and Florida. All three of these states comprise more than half of the Hispanic population. Even though Latinos have helped built America they are still looked at as not belonging. Latinos have faced many different forms of racism for years but have gotten increasingly worries in the past few years. Latinos all over America have had to deal with discrimination in the forms of police abuse, hate crimes, and racial profiling for many years.
Police abuse against Latinos has been going on for years, yet doesn’t get talked about. In 2016 alone Latinos, making up 16 percent of the 585 police-involved killings this year. Eric Rodriquez, vice president of the NCLR’ s office of research, advocacy, and legislation, said that sometimes immigration can compound issues of police brutality. The public debate on police brutality, portrayed by the media as focusing solely on black and white, silences the voices of Latinos. On February 10, three police officers shot at Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, of Pasco, Washington, 17 times two of the bullets hitting him after he allegedly threw rocks into traffic and at police. Police said they shot at Zambrano after voice commands failed and two officers were hit by rocks. Across the nation, police departments have made headlines for their mistreatment of Latinos. These cases have not only involved undocumented immigrants but also Hispanic Americans and permanent legal residents.
Police Brutality Against Latinos
As of 2015, Latinos are the second largest group killed by police. Latinos have formed organizations to address police brutality and other issues that affect their communities since the 1940s. These include the Brown Berets, Community Alert Patrol, Crusaders for Justice, Young Lords Party, and Chicano Revolutionary Party. Police brutality sparks more in poor and working-class Latino communities, primarily in Puerto Rican, Mexican and Central American neighborhoods than any other. There have been many reported cases were Latina women who suffered at the hands of white police officers. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is considering the case of eleven women who were sexually abused, tortured, and jailed, their lives irrevocably altered.
All around the United States, hate crimes against Latinos have occurred yet nothing was being done to prevent them from continuing. Latinos and Hispanics are increasingly the subjects of hate crimes with a more than 50 percent increase from 2016. Anti-Latino crimes grew for the third year in a row and they were the most likely of any racial or ethnic group to be the victims of a violent racially-motivated crime, according to reports. Rodolfo Rodriguez, a permanent resident of the United States, had been attacked with a brick and taken to the hospital with a broken cheekbone and two broken ribs.
An eyewitness later told The Washington Post that Rodriguez had accidentally bumped into a young girl while walking on the sidewalk. The child’s mother-a black woman-then pushed the elderly man to the ground and repeatedly bashed him in the face with a concrete brick while yelling to go back to their country. Hate incidents targeting Latinos and immigrants often go beyond name-calling and intimidation. Victims and advocates also say they are too often the targets of assault, robberies, and even murder. As targeting of their communities is on the rise, Latinos and immigrants are increasingly fearful of reporting racially motivated crimes and incidents to law enforcement.
Racial Profiling Against Latin People
Racial profiling against Latinos has become an everyday occurrence, which makes their lives even more difficult. Racial profiling is the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense. More than 250 allegations of racial profiling are made against officers annually. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Latino drivers anywhere from four to nine times more than other drivers, in some cases only to detain them for long periods of time. In one instance, deputies pulled over a car with four Latino men inside. The driver hadn’t violated any traffic laws, but the officers proceeded to force him and his passengers out of the car and make them wait on the curb, zip-tied, for an hour.
Reports show that The Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies searched the cars of more than 3,500 drivers. A majority of the driver were Latino and didn’t have any illegal items. Deputies conducted searches of Latinos’ vehicles during two-thirds of the stops, while other drivers had their cars searched less than half of the time. The Justice Department also detailed incidents where the authorities followed Hispanic women to their homes and roughed them up. When white people see a Hispanic person they just assume that Latinos are either thieves, drug lords or murders. ICE agents violated constitutional rights during an arrest last year, but that wasn’t enough to stop deportation proceedings.
It’s clear, that even though Latinos make up a large percentage of the people that live in America they are still looked at as intruders. While Latinos have helped make the United States into what it is, they still have to deal with discrimination on a daily basis. Throughout the last few years, hate crimes against Latinos have been on the rise in America’s largest cities. Latinos also have to deal with police brutality. There have been many reported and unreported incidents where police officers verbally abuse Hispanics.
Studies have also shown that police deputies have stopped a much larger percentage of Latinos than any other race. While searching them they found nothing illegal on them or in their car, even so, the police officers that do this on a regular basis are not reprimanded for their actions. There have also been a large amount of cases when a police officer has shot and killed a Hispanic person, yet it’s not talked about nearly enough. For many, Latinos having to deal with these sorts of things has become an everyday occurrence.