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What A State Report On Racial Profiling And Traffic Stops Can And Can’t Tell Us

A police officer makes a traffic stop.
A police officer makes a traffic stop.
Stock photo by Chris Yarzab via Flickr Creative Commons

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Black drivers in California face more traffic stops and searches by police than other drivers, according to the state’s most recent analysis

The report looked at stops of more than 1.8 million people and black residents accounted for just over 15% of them. But they only make up 6% of the population, according to the L.A. Times. Authorities stopped latino and white drivers at more proportional rates to population. The report released by the state DOJ is the third one released and required under the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015. But this is the first to include stop data. “For the first time ever, Californians have comprehensive racial and identity data on each stop and search conducted by police officers at the largest law enforcement agencies in the state,” said California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board Co-Chair Sahar Durali in a statement. Many advocates say the data confirms racial profiling is in play and that being a black driver increases chances of an encounter with police. Others, including law enforcement officials, say the data is leaving out important details and information, creating a skewed representation. So what does the data really tell us? 


Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, an empowerment organization focused on civic engagement and social change, she’s also a member of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board that releases the annual report; she tweets @guerreroandi

Liberty Vittert, professor of the Practice of Data Science at Washington University in St. Louis, she’s also a visiting scholar at Harvard University, she tweets @LibertyVittert

Jody Armour, professor of law at USC; he tweets @NiggaTheory

Connie Rice, civil rights lawyer; she is on the board of KPCC trustees