Latino and African-American motorists in most areas of Los Angeles are significantly more likely than whites to be asked during police stops to leave their vehicles and submit to searches, says a study ordered by the city and reported by the Los Angeles Times. The study group said its detailed analysis of the data cannot determine whether the different treatment is a sign of racial profiling. Members of the Police Commission, who had been eager to see the results of the $700,000 study, were frustrated that it could not say whether officers engage in racial profiling.
Two commissioners said the study demonstrates how raw data on the ethnicity of motorists involved in traffic stops is no match for installing video cameras in patrol cars to record every stop. When the Los Angeles Police Department released its first traffic-stop statistics in early 2003, the data also were inconclusive, prompting the hiring of an outside firm to probe whether there was racial profiling.