May 18, 2014 (San Diego)--A new report issued by the American Civil Liberties Union reveals a pattern of racial profiling in vehicle stops by San Diego Police officers.
The report states, “Blacks account for 12.3% of vehicle stops but only 5.8% of the population.” Hispanics were also stopped at higher rates than whites.
Moreover, once stopped, blacks were searched three times more often than whites, and Hispanics were searched at twice the rate of whites. Only one in 25 white people stopped were searched, vs. one in 8 black and one in 12 Hispanics. Yet of those stopped, black and Hispanic people were actually arrested LESS often than other racial groups.
That’s not news to people in communities of color locally. At recent town hall meetings hosted by San Diego’s new Police chief, Shelley Zimmerman, over 200 people turned out in Southeast San Diego and City Heights—and many of them raised the issue of racial profiling, San Diego Voice and Viewpoint reports.
Lei-Chala Wilson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, says, “Perception is reality and the data shows that it’s no longer perception, but reality,” Wilson said. The NACCP leader said it’s clear that blacks are being profiled and more likely to be stopped, adding, “There’s no way you can spin away that blacks aren’t being profiled, along with Latinos.”
The ACLU has called on San Diego Police to review its policies and practices on racial profiling, as well as start collecting data on pedestrian stops as well as traffic stops.