Black drivers in California were stopped by police at 2.5 times the per capita rate of whites and searched three times as often, says the latest report from a first-in-the-nation attempt to track racial profiling by police, the Associated Press reports. Under a 2015 law, when California police make a stop of any kind they are required to log their perception of the race, gender and sexual orientation of anyone they stop. The report by the state Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board includes information from the eight largest law enforcement agencies on 1.8 million police stops and searches. Black people accounted for 15 percent of all stops but make up 6 percent of the population. Hispanics accounted for 40 perent of stops, a slightly higher per capita rate, while whites were a third of the stops, a slightly lower rate.
Moreover, “a higher percentage of black individuals were stopped for reasonable suspicion than any other racial identity group,” the board reported. Officers were nearly three times as likely to search blacks than whites, though white suspects were more likely to yield contraband or other evidence. Black people were more likely to be arrested and stopped at night. State lawmakers who created the board hoped to learn if agencies are more likely to stop minority motorists for what commonly has been called “driving while black.” “This is a critical first step in the fight to end racial profiling,” said the board’s co-chair, Sahar Durali, associate director of litigation and policy at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles. Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom said the racial disparity data “does not tell us the reasons behind those differences and that’s where we need to go next.” See also: Blacks Represented 65% of Deaths in NJ Police Pursuits: Investigation.