Today’s news:

Judge rejects racial profile in JFK security bias case

A Brooklyn federal judge has ruled that the federal government cannot detain suspects based on their race, a major victory for two men of Egyptian descent who were detained at Kennedy International Airport four years ago after air marshals on their flight decided their behavior was suspect, court records show.

When they stepped off the plane they were handcuffed, taken to a police station and interrogated regarding suspected terrorist activity on the plane, according to the court papers. They were released four hours later after police found no evidence of wrongdoing.

“Defendants’ argument that plaintiffs’ Arab ethnicity is a relevant consideration is premised on the notion that Arabs have a greater propensity than nonāˆ’Arabs toward criminal activity – namely, terrorism,” Judge Frederic Block wrote in a response to the government’s request to a determination without trial. “There is no doubt that the specter of 911 looms large over this case. ... [But] fear cannot be a factor to allow for the evisceration of the bedrock principle of our Constitution that no one can be arrested without probable cause that a crime has been committed.”

— Jeremy Walsh

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