Monday, April 30, 2007
From washingtonpost.com: 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.
The study, released Sunday by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, covered police contacts with the public during 2005 and was based on interviews by the Census Bureau with nearly 64,000 people age 16 or over.
"The numbers are very consistent" with those found in a similar study of police-public contacts in 2002, bureau statistician Matthew R. Durose, the report's co-author, said in an interview. "There's some stability in the findings over these three years."
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. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]