Almost 93 percent of the 7,748 children stopped for curfew violations in New Orleans city between 2009 and 2012 were African-American, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The data release came a few days after New Orleans police acknowledged they had misspoken in October when they told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune that they did not track the demographics of curfew violators. The new data indicate that African-American boys who are stopped for curfew violations are more likely to be transported to the Orleans Parish Curfew Center, as opposed to being released on the scene.
Police Department critics contend the numbers validate their concerns that the department has been engaging in racial profiling with some of its practices, curfew enforcement being one of them. “(The information) is not inconsistent with what past data (have) been regarding curfew arrests and not inconsistent with some of the concerns of the Department of Justice around policing practices that were profiling communities of color,” said Dana Kaplan of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Danatus King, head of the local NAACP and an increasingly vocal critic of the police, added that the numbers behind curfew enforcement in New Orleans are especially worrisome to him in the wake of a recent directive from a police lieutenant that called on cops to stop people on bicycles in “the hood.” “It’s indicative of a policy of racial profiling,” King said. While the numbers show a disproportionately high number of black youths are busted for curfew violations, the pattern is actually less pronounced than it was a few years ago. In 2009, nearly 98 percent of those detained for curfew violations were black.