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NY Times Investigation: Police in 4 States Stop Black Drivers Disproportionately

A fascinating New York Times investigation was published yesterday and fleshes out the “driving while black” meme about racial profiling with systematic data. In the four states in which car search data is systematically, tracked, the Times reports that black drivers are stopped disproportionately often, even though officers are more likely to find illegal material when searching cars with white drivers:

Race and Car Searches

This is what racial discrimination looks like.

12 thoughts on “NY Times Investigation: Police in 4 States Stop Black Drivers Disproportionately”

  1. ella says:

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of blacks were found with contraband – compared within blacks and the same with white or other race. To find if, for example: 100 blacks were stopped, were 10 found carrying contraband? and if 100 white or other race were stopped, were 20 found with contraband. If among those who were not black, were what percentage Caucasian, Oriental, Polynesian, Indian etc.

  2. Jason says:

    Extremely interesting article and chart.

    Gives one a lot to think about!

  3. ella says:

    This sort of thing happens more often than is reported, mostly because it would do no good to report it. In fact the victims are afraid to report it in fear of retaliation. Who are they going to report it to? It is an intimidation system that is in use across the nation, more so today than in the past. It is used on people that are considered economically challenged (could not afford legally challenge them), are unsuspecting, (therefore easy targets), or as in this case, of a race that has a historical past of intra-racial [black on black] violence, (and so they expect it). Notice one of the officers was black. That to, happens a lot. At least one white and one black are involved. Check out the recent violence videos of police on blacks violence, you’ll see a racial mix. But whites are always blamed.

    That said this shows an overall view, by Bill O’Reilly, that covers what I wondered about: “Hispanics make up 48% of all the drug offenders in prison — blacks 27 percent, whites 22 percent.” : concerning the a multiple breakdown of races involved in the criminal system.

      1. ella says:

        Why doesn’t this computer play those videos? I read the article though. Was the teen driving toward the officer and did he have time to get out of the way? Guns and taser’s are coming out too quickly, it seems. Yet if the officer were in plain clothes, would the teen have done the same thing? Is it becoming a response to the uniform? Why did the teen try to leave, or was he leaving anyway? There are some questions when I can’t play the video.

        1. Leroy says:

          I would imagine that the video isn’t playing because the necessary software isn’t updated. It played fine on both my regular PC computer and even my Kindle.

          There’s also a copy of the video (I think) under the Huffington Post article that might be in a video format that you can play. I’ll have to check and see.

          As to your questions, the teen and his female companion were in a parked car in a fast food parking lot. There is some suspicion that they may have been preparing to do some recreational drugs. The uniformed officer pulls up and stops his marked cruiser some distance behind the teen’s car (BTW, the teen is White). The cruiser is straight on to the car as the camera recording this scene is the dashboard camera in the officer’s cruiser. Then the officer starts to run up toward their car with his pistol drawn, yelling at them to get out of the car. Immediately as the officer is starting his approach, the teen backs up at an angle – away from the cruiser and the officer (as his clear intent is to drive off). As the teen starts to pull forward, the officer tries reaching for the door handle (he is that close) with the obvious intent of pulling the teen from the moving car. Pretty much immediately the officer realizes that isn’t going to work, so fires into the car window (I believe was open), killing then teen.

          Aside from any legitimate criminal conduct actions (the local DA choose to not charge the officer, but it is now being investigated by the DOJ / FBI), there are numerous tactical error violations committed by the officer that would be serious procedure violations in any competent department.

          Also, here’s the link for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report section. Note down at the bottom right-hand corner where it discusses the different year issues available… and specifies that the crime rate for 2014 was down from 2013, and that the 2013 crime rate was down from 2012 (and they specify that is for both Property Crimes and Crimes Against Persons). And in checking archived copies of previous years, one would find that (decreasing crime rate) would be the same trend going back for years.

          It is a very good resource to check through.

    1. Leroy says:

      Who did the victims report the crimes to back when the crime rate was MUCH higher than it is today?

      Why weren’t those people back then not afraid to report crimes but they are now?

      And many crimes aren’t “reported”, but are found (like a burglarized business or a dead body in an alley or the discovery of a robbery in progress, etcetera).

      Let’s even say that 15% of reportable crimes don’t get reported because certain types of people are too afraid to report them.

      Well, the crime rate today would be 15% higher. And the much higher crime rate back then would be yet 15% higher also!

      Long-term law enforcement officers will tell you in a heartbeat that crimes (violent crimes and property crimes both) were a LOT higher in the time period from the late 70s through until the mid 90s when the crime rate began its downward slide. I know, I was in law enforcement from the early 70s into the 2000s. And I read every FBI Crime Report Manual that came out each year (broken down by region, then by State, then by County, then by local jurisdiction). And since retirement have each year read the online Summary of FBI Crime Report Report Manual every year since then

      The fact of the downward trend of crime in this country (and that it’s been going on for roughly 20 years) is simply incontrovertible! Anyone who attempts to dispute that has never read those crime reports and / or is using temporary data (and then out of context like the article that shows that violent crimes were noticeably higher in FOUR cities and then tried to infer that this data represented the whole country).

      Right now in Cleveland, homicides are up by 40% from all of last year (of course last year’s rate was like one of the lowest ever). But that total is still significantly lower than back during the 1980s. On top of that, in the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area outside of Cleveland – and which is roughly 7 times larger population than Cleveland itself), homicides and crimes of violence continue their downward trend.

  4. big tom says:

    you assume all conditions are equal…. blacks are 5 times more likely to murder than white people based on FBI statistics. so if that is the case and blacks are 2 to 5 more likely to be a suspect when stopped why should I be surprised

    1. Jim Cook says:

      You didn’t read closely. **White drivers** that were stopped were actually more likely to be found to be in possession of illegal materials than black drivers.

      1. Leroy says:


        Beat me to the response.

        Plus the MAIN POINT of the article was that of vehicle stops in general (not ones seeking a specific suspect to a specific crime) and the discovery of illegal material during such stop, not racial profile of murderers (though the responses morphed into the old rising crimes issue again).

        But, speaking of homicides and what the FBI’s UCR reporting really says:

        Actually the in known homicides, offenders are NOT 5 times more likely to be Black than White.

        Also, in actual crimes against persons is the fact that victims of Black offenders are, by a vast majority, themselves Black:

        In fact, in single offender / single victim situations:

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Thanks for the links, Leroy!

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