This week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra revised rules for how police officers in the state will have to track data aimed at preventing racial profiling, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Starting with the Los Angeles Police Department and other large law enforcement agencies in July 2018, officers will collect information detailing race, gender and other demographic details every time police pull someone over in their cars or otherwise detain them. Civil rights advocates have long argued that police treat blacks, Latinos and other minority groups differently from whites. Criminal justice researchers have been analyzing data about law enforcement interactions to try and understand police activity.
In Oakland, black men were four times more likely to be searched than whites during a traffic stop and were more likely to be handcuffed even if they weren’t arrested, said a report last year from Stanford academics. A more recent Stanford study found that in Los Angeles County, black drivers stopped more frequently than whites and Latinos. In 2015, during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber wrote legislation to force every police department in California to collect racial and other demographic data when officers stop people. The aim, Weber said, is to inform policy for how police interact with communities of color.