ACLU Finds ‘Driving While Black’ Bias in Chicago


Although they are officially prohibited from racial profiling, Chicago police officers stop black drivers at a higher rate than whites, according to a study by the ACLU of Illinois reported by the Chicago Tribune. Of the more than 100,000 traffic stops made by Chicago police last year, nearly half were of black motorists, far more than their percentage of the population, according to the ACLU analysis. The numbers were even more lopsided for traffic stops of blacks in predominantly white neighborhoods, the ACLU found.

The troubling pattern of alleged bias by Chicago police comes 11 years after the state legislature required law enforcement agencies to keep data on the race of every driver they stop. The requirement was part of an effort to gauge the prevalence of racial profiling and try to find ways to prevent it. An analysis by the ACLU earlier this year showed that police across Illinois have made little progress combating racial profiling. According to that report, police searched the cars of African-American and Latino drivers far more than those of whites, yet officers found drugs and other contraband at a higher rate in vehicles driven by whites.

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