by John Hawkins | April 30, 2007 9:47 am
It used to be that the complaint you heard all the time was that police officers were stopping people for “driving while black.” But, now that numbers have come in that seem to disprove that claim, the grievance lobby seems to just be moving on to something new,
Black, Hispanic and white drivers are equally likely to be pulled over by police, but blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be searched and arrested, a federal study found.
Police were much more likely to threaten or use force against blacks and Hispanics than against whites in any encounter, whether at a traffic stop or elsewhere, according to the Justice Department.
…Traffic stops have become a politically volatile issue. Minority groups have complained that many stops and searches are based on race rather than on legitimate suspicions. Blacks in particular have complained of being pulled over for simply “driving while black.”
“The available data is sketchy but deeply concerning,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau. The civil rights organization has done its own surveys of traffic stops, and he said the racial disparities grow larger, the deeper the studies delve.
“It’s very important to look at the hit rates for searches – the number that actually result in finding a crime,” Shelton said. “There’s a great deal of racial disparity there.” He called for federal legislation that would collect uniform data by race on stops, arrests, use of force, searches and hit rates.
“This report shows there are still disturbing disparities in terms of what happens to people of color after the stop,” said Dennis Parker, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s racial justice project. He also said better reporting is needed.
…Black, Hispanic and white motorists were equally likely to be pulled over by police – between 8 percent and 9 percent of each group. The slight decline in blacks pulled over – from 9.2 percent in 2002 to 8.1 percent in 2005 – was not statistically significant, Durose said, and could be the result of random differences.
The racial disparities showed up after that point:
_Blacks (9.5 percent) and Hispanics (8.8 percent) were much more likely to be searched than whites (3.6 percent). There were slight but statistically insignificant declines compared with the 2002 report in the percentages of blacks and Hispanics searched.
_Blacks (4.5 percent) were more than twice as likely as whites (2.1 percent) to be arrested. Hispanic drivers were arrested 3.1 percent of the time.
Among all police-public contacts, force was used 1.6 percent of the time. But blacks (4.4 percent) and Hispanics (2.3 percent) were more likely than whites (1.2 percent) to be subjected to force or the threat of force by police officers.”
Is racism at work there? That may be what the NAACP and ACLU would have you believe — however, take a look at these imprisonment rates per racial group numbers,
“In 2003 4,834 out of every 100,000 black males were sentenced to prison compared to 681 per every 100,000 white males and 1,778 per 100,000 Hispanic males. Though the rate of black males going to prison was high, the fastest rising segment of prison population by the late twentieth century was minority females.”
Now those are imprisonment rates, not crime rates (which aren’t exactly the same thing), but if blacks are 7 times as likely to commit a crime as whites and hispanics are 2 1/2 times more likely to commit a crime as whites, is it a surprise that you’re seeing disparities in these numbers?
Put another way, if the police stop 100 blacks, 100 whites, and 100 Hispanics, it’s highly likely that there will be more criminals amongst the 100 blacks or 100 Hispanics than the 100 whites. And if there are more people breaking the law in a particular group, there will be more searches, more arrests, and more threats of force against that group by the police.
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