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New study shows that San Diego Police stop more minorities

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2015 | Firm News |

I am glad Friday is here….TGIF

The first step of most people denying justice is not always fair first dispute the stats. The next step is to then justify the actions.

So lets sit back and believe why they stop blacks and hispanics.  Is it the officers are going to stop certain people more than in certain areas?  Is it possible an officer on patrol off Federal Blvd at night has a different vibe than a patrol officer driving down Carmel Valley Road?  You want to say hopefully no but that would not be out of the realm of reasonableness.

The next question is why is the officer on more alert in certain areas than others?  Of course some areas have higher crime rates than others.  So do we just say “sucks to be you” when you live in a higher crime area and you get stopped more because police are on higher alert?  Could the number be higher because the officer believed something more than rolling a stop sign was going on.  So, when they observed that slight roll (that we most all do) and find out it was a normal joe do they just give the citation to cover their A$$?

I do applaud the city for coming out with the report.  The key will be whether there will be new techniques or training to curb this flaw. Have a great day.


San Diego police on Wednesday released their first full-year report in more than a decade on the racial profiles of drivers pulled over in traffic stops.

The data show that black and Hispanic motorists were pulled over last year in numbers disproportionate to their populations, blacks significantly and Hispanics just slightly. Whites and Asians were stopped at far lower rates.

“The data certainly suggests that questions persist” about racial profiling, said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli of the American Civil Liberties Union’s San Diego chapter. “We’re left with a big question: What do we do about it?”

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman presented the latest findings to the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee Wednesday afternoon.

“We do not teach, nor do we condone, racial profiling,” Zimmerman told the panel.

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, a former police officer, and a half-dozen speakers said the numbers show a clear pattern of racial profiling.

“This weighs heavy on the heart,” Cole said of the report. “Racial profiling: It exists. The data is saying it exists.”

Out of 144,164 traffic stops by San Diego officers in 2014, 43 percent involved white drivers, 30 percent Hispanics, 15 percent Asians and 11 percent blacks, according to the report.

By comparison, whites made up an estimated 47 percent of the city’s driving population over age 15, Hispanics 27 percent, Asians 20 percent and blacks 5 percent.

Hispanic and black drivers combined made up 40 percent of those stopped by police in 2000, 38 percent in 2001, and 41 percent in 2014.

The 2014 numbers also show that little has changed since the data were collected and studied in 2000 and 2001.

Zimmerman said few conclusions can be drawn from the statistics because there is no data on the racial makeup of the entire pool of drivers in the city to compare to those stopped by police.

“Without this population data, a reliable demographic comparison does not exist,” her report states.

Police officials have pointed out that many San Diego neighborhoods have high concentrations of a single race, and the numbers of Hispanic drivers may be overrepresented because of visitors and workers from Mexico.

“It’s true that knowing who is in the driving-age population is challenging, and you do have visitors,” Dooley-Sammuli said in an interview. “But this disparity (of traffic stops) is so great, you can’t dismiss it.”

She called for handing the data over to research experts who may be able draw conclusions without numbers on the driving population. At the meeting, Zimmerman said she welcome professional analysis of the data. A council staff member said that Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who chairs the committee but was absent, wanted to announce that San Diego State University has accepted the research analysis challenge.

At the meeting, Aaron Harvey, 26, who grew up in Lincoln Park, told the committee he has no criminal record, yet he has been stopped by police as many as 50 times and was once handcuffed while standing in front of his family’s home.

“The problem is the profiling,” Harvey said. “It’s a group of officers who overstep their boundaries.”

San Diego State University professor Roberto D. Hernández said in an interview that the report shows a “disturbing trend” for high numbers of stops and searches of African-American and Latino drivers. He advised police to renew relationships with people of color by expanding community-oriented policing, and suggested that data be collected on pedestrian stops, not just traffic stops.

Others who attended the meeting also asked for data on officers who stop pedestrians, but Zimmerman said the extra forms and analysis would be labor-intensive at a time when staffing is still low and resources stretched thin.

Adriana Jasso, of the American Friends Service Committee, which addresses issues involving immigrants, said she is concerned that the data showing the high number of traffic stops on Hispanics.

“There is merit to the community’s feeling that they are racially profiled,” Jasso said.

She also challenged the Police Department to acknowledge that the numbers show minority drivers are more likely to be stopped in a police contact. Without reaching that conclusion, she said, “then what’s the point of the report? What’s the point of the effort, of releasing it?”

The San Diego Police Department was one of the first in the nation to begin, voluntarily, to collect traffic stop data in 2000. Officers were given forms to fill out with specific demographic information about every motorist they pulled over, whether they then asked to search the vehicle, and whether an arrest was made. Officials took a look at the results after six months, then after one year, then at the end of a second year.

In 2000, the report says, officers recorded 168,901 traffic stops. The numbers dropped by about 40,000 in 2001, and then-Chief David Bejarano told officers to resume collecting the data. It tapered off in subsequent years until early 2014, when then-Chief William Lansdowne ordered a new commitment to the data collection.

The full article can be found here.

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