Racial enforcement of drug laws in Durham, N.C., means those driving while black are three times as likely as white drivers to be targeted for police traffic stops and searches, civil rights advocates told Aljazeera.com. The revelation of racial profiling spanning more than a decade of the city's traffic stop data has led to intense community pressure to reform police policies and priorities.
After months of policy scrutiny, Durham cops will undergo racial awareness training and begin regularly analyzing traffic stop data. Durham City Manager Thomas Bonfield said the changes were geared to “repairing and rebuilding of a trusting relationship” between the police and the community. The city will also investigate “the unexplained racial disparity” in an 18-month period ending June 30 that found blacks accounted for 86 percent of misdemeanor drug arrests. Bonfield said, “It is well documented that racial profiling is one of the most complex issues facing law enforcement professionals today, not just in Durham but throughout the country.”