This Article examines the Project Safe Neighborhoods program and considers whether its disproportionate application in urban, majority- African American cities (large and small) violates the guarantee of equal protection under the law. This Article will start with a description of the program and how it operates-the limited application to street-level criminal activity in predominately African American communities. Based on preliminary data showing that Project Safe Neighborhoods disproportionately impacts African Americans, the Article turns to an analysis of the applicable law. Most courts have analyzed Project Safe Neighborhoods' race-based challenges under selective prosecution case law, which requires a showing by the defendant that the program had a discriminatory impact and was effectuated with the intent to discriminate. But this case law is not definitive. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a program that operates to treat African Americans separately and unequally. The program targets African American neighborhoods and thus targets African Americans. Under well-established law, where a program effectively classifies citizens by race, it is presumptively invalid and can be upheld only upon an extraordinary justification.
Bonita R. Gardner,
Separate and Unequal: Federal Tough-on-Guns Program Targets Minority Communities for Selective Enforcement,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol12/iss2/2