If you are black and were driving in Evanston, Il., in 2014, it was seven times more likely that if police officers stopped your car they would search you than if you are white, reports Injustice Watch. Researchers at the University of North Carolina documented that disparity as part of what may be the largest study of traffic stops ever collected, analyzing 55 million stops based on data from 132 different agencies in 16 states. Across the board, researchers found that stops by law enforcement officers led to searches if the drivers are black and Hispanic far more commonly than if they are white. Four Illinois law enforcement agencies stand out in the study: the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, the Evanston Police Department, the Chicago Police Department and the Palatine Police Department.
The study examined, by race, what percentage of traffic stops turned into searches year by year as far back as 1999. It lists the 10 agencies that, in any single year, had the most disproportionate stops. For stops comparing white drivers and black drivers, the Evanston Police Department took up six of those 10 spots, having a strikingly disproportionate ratio each year between 2009 and 2014. The Chicago Police Department was listed in three of the four remaining spots. For searches of Hispanic drivers compared to their white counterparts, the Cook County Sheriff over a four-year period between 2008 and 2011 had the four most disproportionate ratios of any studied agencies. In 2009, the worst single year, it was more than 18 times more likely a Hispanic driver than a white driver would be searched after a stop by Cook County sheriff deputies.