Report: Black drivers more likely to be stopped in Missouri

Differences in Black and white motorists’ interaction with police have for the most part only increased in the two decades since Missouri began tracking and analyzing vehicle stops.

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Recently released data show Black drivers are more likely to be pulled over in Missouri compared to white drivers, and the gap between how Missouri police treat Black and white drivers increased again last year. 

Differences in Black and white motorists’ interaction with police have for the most part only increased in the two decades since Missouri began tracking and analyzing vehicle stops, as compiled by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office

Adobe Stock Image.

After a dip in overall police stops and disparities between Black and white drivers in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, differences in treatment once again increased in 2021. 

“The response to it has not been impressive at all,” Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel said. “How is it that we look at the same constitutional violations clearly occurring based on color, and there’s not even a plan on what to do?”

Missouri’s population is close to 11% Black, but about 18% of all police traffic stops in 2021 involved Black drivers.

University of Missouri economics experts who analyzed the data wrote that disproportionate stops of Black motorists don’t necessarily prove discriminatory intent or unconscious bias by police. 

“Observed differences may result from differential impacts of policing, differential treatment by police, or some combination of these and other factors,” analysts wrote in the report.

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