The San Diego Police Department is trying to assess whether its officers are guilty of racial profiling in traffic stops, as some community activists allege, the Los Angeles Times reports. New statistics suggest that black and Latino drivers are more likely to be pulled over than white drivers, and once stopped are more likely to be searched than white drivers who have been stopped. “We have a racial profiling issue; it is here,” said Mark Jones, a former Marine and leader of the Black Students Justice Coalition.
In 2014, of 144,164 traffic stops, Latino drivers represented 30.2 percent and African Americans 11.2 percent, compared to census data that Latinos are 27 percent of the adult population and African Americans 5.5 percent. Of the 7,142 drivers who were searched, 40.1 percent were Latinos and 23.4 percent African American. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman noted the difficulty of using such statistics to reach conclusions about racial profiling. Councilwoman Marti Emerald, chair of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, asked the San Diego State University's school of public affairs to “conduct an independent academic research study.” The goal, she said, “is to improve trust and relations between our communities and our police.”