Police officers speak about being profiled

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Updated: 8/20 11:56 pm
FERGUSON, Mo. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- A new Pew Research poll finds that America is sharply divided over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri.

The results offer stark and contrasting perspectives of race in America. Of the African-Americans polled, 80-percent said Brown's shooting raises racial issues, and only 40-percent of whites felt the same.

We get a perspective from a pair of veteran police officers about what it is like to have the tables turned, when they are the ones being profiled.

The best trained police officers can tell if a person is lying just by tracking someone's eye movement. "You watch a body, you watch the hands, you watch the eyes," said Louis Hobson, Jr. "There's things that you can do."

Veteran Police Sergeant Louis Hobson, Jr. sees profiling in reverse. "Just living in America as an African-American, you know even when I'm off duty, I feel people are sizing me up, especially officers that don't really know I'm a police officer."

When a suspect uses street smarts for profiling, Hobson said it all too often turns to the most dangerous type of encounter for an officer. "When you profile people, nine times out of ten, you are going to make the wrong assesment, which means you are going to make a bad judgement."

During Stephen Tabeling's long career as a homicide detective, he too felt the pry of a suspect eyes. Tabeling is retired and now writes books about law enforcement. "If they see that a policeman is a little bit lax or let's say they might see a little bit of fear in an officer, that's when they are getting ready to take advantage."

Tabeling said that people who are most likely to profile an officer are the ones with the most to lose, like those that will do anything to avoid a return trip to prison. "Did that make you upset? Did that make you apprehensive? It makes you want to go home to your family and take care of yourself."

Tabeling said he felt no more inclined to write a ticket or haul someone off to jail for profiling him, because it too becomes a part of the job officers must learn to live with.
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