A North Carolina trial lawyers task force studied a decade’s worth of law enforcement traffic stops in the state and found that blacks and Hispanics are “systematically searched at much higher rates than whites,” reports the Greensboro News-Record. The N.C. Advocates for Justice analyzed almost 13.5 million traffic stop records covering a period from 2000 to mid-2011. Report authors called their findings “deeply disturbing and may be indicative of a problem.”
They have called for the creation of a broad-based state commission to study the causes of the racial disparities at traffic stops and make recommendations. The report said blacks and Hispanics are “almost twice as likely to be searched and twice as likely to be arrested” as white drivers. The statewide findings are similar to the racial disparities in Fayetteville, where statistics showed almost three of every four people searched by police at traffic stops were black. The Fayetteville City Council responded to the controversy by introducing written consent forms and installing 200 camera systems in patrol cars. The former city manager was asked to resign in March because of his handling of the issue.