Racial Disparity Grows In Charlotte Police “Vehicle Equipment” Stops


A new study of 1.3 million stops over 12 years by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department illustrates the wariness between officers and black drivers, reports the Charlotte Observer. Though African Americans make up less than a third of the city's driving-age residents, they are pulled over by police more frequently, receive more tickets and are the subjects of roadside searches twice as often as whites, said a University of North Carolina Chapel Hill research team.

In Charlotte, black drivers account for almost 60 percent of the city's “vehicle equipment” stops by police. Black men 50 and above here have a better chance of being searched during a traffic stop than white and black women face in their lifetimes. Yet, it's younger black males, ages 16-30, who draw the most attention from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. They are almost three times as likely to be searched as the average driver. The overwhelming majority of traffic stops in Charlotte are peaceful, but when roadside tensions escalate, they are far more likely to do so when black drivers and passengers are involved, says UNC political scientist Frank Baumgartner, author of the study. Police officers report encountering force three times as often when black drivers and passengers are involved.

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