Police in Missouri pull over black motorists for traffic stops at disproportionate rates, reports the Kansas City Star. Statewide, statistics for 2004 showed that black motorists were 38 percent more likely than white drivers to be stopped. And after the stop, they were 71 percent more likely to be searched. State law mandates the reporting of traffic stop statistics, released last weekend by the Missouri attorney general.
The statistics indicated black motorists were much more likely to be stopped by suburban police officers. But police officials insisted the figures are skewed. They compare the number of traffic stops for various racial groups to the racial breakdown of the driving-age population living in each city at the last census count. But the numbers do not take into account the racial breakdown of the motorists who drive through the city each day. Police say that figure would be a more fair gauge.