L.A. Officials Dispute Study Of Minority Stops, Searches, Arrests


Los Angeles police are far more likely to stop, search, and arrest minorities than they are whites — even after statistics were adjusted for high- and low-crime areas, said a nongovernmental study reported by the Los Angeles Times. Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres found that once stopped, African Americans were 29 percent more likely to be arrested than whites. Latinos were 32 percent more likely to be arrested in an identical category. The percentages were far higher when minorities were stopped on the street or ordered out of their vehicles (blacks 166 percent and Latinos 132 percent more often than whites), frisked (blacks 127 percent and Latinos 43 percent more often than whites) or subject to nonconsensual searches (blacks 81 percent and Latinos 77 percent more often than whites).

Police Chief William Bratton strongly disagreed with the report’s findings. He said the study was flawed because it used data collected four years ago and did not reflect current practices. Tim Sands, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, called the report, which was done for the American Civil Liberties Union, a misguided attempt to read the minds of officers during traffic stops. “Dr. Ayres’ conclusions completely misread situations that are not nearly as black and white as he would want them to be,” Sands said. “It’s an exercise that might work on a spreadsheet at Yale but doesn’t work on the streets of Los Angeles.” Union officials noted that the police department is “majority minority,” mirroring the demographic trends of Los Angeles, and that most officers work in pairs that represent more than one race..

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-aclu21-2008oct21,0,4850652.story

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