Three of four police departments in Massachusetts have engaged in racial profiling against nonwhite drivers, state Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn is expected to report today, says the Boston Globe. Flynn could require officers in as many as 249 departments, including state troopers, to fill out an extra form every time they pull over a motorist, even when they don’t write a ticket or a warning.
Four years after the Legislature ordered a test for racial profiling in Massachusetts, police departments will get their grades this morning. Flynn is scheduled to release the final report of a state-sponsored study of traffic tickets by Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice and to announce the standard he will set for additional paperwork. The attorney for the state police chiefs association predicted that many officers will respond by “de-policing,” doing fewer traffic stops lest they give more ammunition to their critics.
The Northeastern study confirms a Boston Globe study last year: Minorities, especially men, are disproportionately ticketed and searched in most communities in the state. When police officers decide whether to write a ticket or a warning, women are far more likely to get a break.
Chiefs expected Flynn to be a tough grader, requiring additional paperwork from police departments that show a disparity on any one of four statistical tests: ticketing resident minorities more than whites, compared with their share of the resident population; ticketing all minorities more than whites, compared with their share of the community’s drivers; searching minorities more often than whites; and issuing warnings to whites more often than to minorities.