Charlotte Area Blacks Perceive Policing Race Bias


Blacks in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County are almost three times more likely than whites to believe police stop motorists and pedestrians based on skin color, the Charlotte Observer says. The findings issued this week by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department shed little light on whether officers actually practice racial profiling. The study shows that the department, like others around the country, is perceived by many blacks as biased. “If things were all good, we wouldn’t see (these results),” said Ken White, president of the Charlotte chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “There are some issues that need to be addressed.”

A police spokesman said the overall survey results were positive. Two thirds of respondents who answered the question believe police do not practice arbitrary profiling. In a previous study commissioned by the department, N.C. State University researchers found that 42 percent of the roughly 77,000 traffic stops in Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 2002 involved blacks. African Americans make up 28 percent of the population. Researchers concluded there was no evidence of widespread racial profiling by officers. The results of the new survey mirror those of communities throughout the nation because blacks and whites generally have different experiences with the justice system, said Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based criminal justice research group.


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