Racial profiling in police stops
Source: Washington Monthly

A 2013 report on the ethnic and racial backgrounds of Missouri citizens stopped by police revealed that African-Americans are pulled over more often than whites.

Attorney General Chris Koster released the 14th Annual Report on Vehicle Stops that revealed the troubling data indicating that African-Americans were pulled over at a substantially higher rate than whites.

The attorney general pointed out that the statistics are not a positive indication of racial profiling, but it certainly serves as a reason to be concerned.

“One of the best uses of these reports is as a springboard for dialogue and communication between law enforcement agencies and the Missourians they serve,” Koster said. “It is vital that Missouri law enforcement agencies review the rates of stops and searches and continue their community-outreach efforts.”

The report uses “disparity indexes” to represent the data.

Values over “1” suggest that a particular group is being over-represented, that is, the number people being pulled over appears to be unusually large in that group compared to the number of driving citizens in that same demographic.

Values under “1” represented under-representation that suggests that drivers of a particular group are pulled over or searched at a much lower rate.

The 2013 report revealed that African-Americans had a disparity index of 1.59, an increase from the 2012 rate of 1.57.

To make matters even more troubling, this is the 11th time in 14 years that the disparity index for African-American drivers has increased.

“African-American drivers in Missouri were 66 percent more likely than white drivers to be stopped in 2013 versus 30 percent more likely in 2000,” Koster said. “The suggests a disturbing trend, and I hope communities with similar findings will make a serious effort to identify the causes.”

The report also included how often certain groups were searched after being stopped by authorities.

African Americans pulled over more than White drivers
Credit: AP Photo/Denny Medley

Once again, the results raised a red flag.

African-American drivers were 1.89 times more likely to be searched than white drivers.

Hispanics were 1.87 times more likely to be searched than white drivers, although the rate at which authorities stopped Hispanics was lower than that of whites.

The “contraband hit rate,” however, was much higher for white drivers than it was for Black or Hispanic drivers.

The hit rate for white drivers was 26.3, while African-Americans and Hispanics had a hit rate of 18.8 and 18 respectively.

These findings would indicate that African-American drivers are being stopped and searched at a much higher rate than white drivers, even though the whites have been found more likely to be in possession of illegal contraband.

Koster reminded all law enforcement agencies that they should look into the statistics for their particular community to check for any red flags and troubling trends.

The report included information from 96 percent of all law enforcement agencies in Missouri. Koster reported 23 departments chose not to participate.

Driving while blackNationalNewsRacial profiling

Leave a comment