Welp. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise: African Americans in Missouri are 85 percent more likely to get pulled over in their cars compared to whites, according to an annual Vehicle Stops Report released on Friday by the Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office.
Unfortunately, that percentage is the highest it’s ever been in 18 years since Missouri started compiling data for the annual report. Last year, Blacks were 75 percent more likely to get pulled over while driving, reports the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
While 7.1 percent of Latinos and 6.6 percent of Blacks were arrested following traffic stops, only 4.2 percent of whites ended up in handcuffs.
John Gaskin is a spokesman for the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP. He referred to the numbers as “really deplorable.”
“It’s why we’ve ended up in a situation where people are talking about travel advisories and African-American groups are less likely to come and do business in our state,” Gaskin said.
Needless to say, the numbers are disheartening, especially in the months leading up to the fourth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. The unarmed teenager was fatally shot in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer back in August of 2014.
A grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Brown, which resulted in months of protests and fueled racial tensions within the community.
The following year in March, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report citing that Ferguson’s police officers often targeted Black residents.
Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, analyzed the data published in the 2018 Vehicle Stops Report. He said police offers are becoming more selective during traffic stops.
“That’s all to the good,” Rosenfeld said. “We want the police to make quote, unquote, ‘good searches,’ that is, searches that produce contraband.”
Although white drivers were less likely to be searched during traffic stops compared to Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans, they were more likely to be caught with guns, drugs and other contraband.