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Tag Archives: Traffic Stops

Texas Cops Create “Honorary White People” To Avoid Racial Profiling

A small sample of “honorary white folks” ticketed by Texas cops. Misidentified in an effort to evade evidence of racial profiling in traffic stops.

If you picked Contestant #12…See your Optometrist…Soonest!

I got news for the station who found this…It isn’t just Hispanics.

Texas troopers ticketing Hispanic drivers as white

Senator says DPS ‘playing games’ with racial profiling data

DPS troopers are inaccurately recording the race of large numbers of minority drivers, mostly Hispanic, as white, according to a KXAN investigation. The agency’s traffic stop data reveals racial profiling reports are likely flawed, according to experts.

Sergio Raul Mejia got a traffic citation for having his license plate on the dash of his truck in Georgetown last May. The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who pulled Mejia over put his race as white on the ticket.

“That’s bad,” said Mejia. “I’m Hispanic. He was not supposed to put white people,” Mejia continued, speaking in broken English. “You don’t think you look white?” asked KXAN Investigator Brian Collister. “No, Hispanic,” replied Mejia.

A Texas law aimed at preventing racial profiling requires peace officers determine and document the race of every driver to whom they issue a written warning, traffic citation or arrest during a traffic stop. The statute says officers must report: “the person’s race or ethnicity, as stated by the person or, if the person does not state the person’s race or ethnicity, as determined by the officer to the best of the officer’s ability.” White and Hispanic are just two categories listed in the law, which treats race and ethnicity the same for purposes of gathering the statistics.

The Texas Racial Profiling statute requires race and ethnicity be treated the same for purposes of gathering the statistics: “Race or ethnicity” means of a particular descent, including Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or Middle Eastern descent.

But a KXAN investigation discovered DPS troopers across the state are inaccurately reporting the race of minority drivers who are African American, Asian, but mostly Hispanic, as white. KXAN uncovered the discrepancies while reviewing more than 16 million DPS traffic citation records dating back to 2010.

Richard Kai-Tzung Chang got a traffic ticket in Austin from a DPS Trooper last April. Chang is from Taiwan and says he believes its obvious he is Asian. But the trooper documented him as white on the citation.

“I was shocked,” Chang told KXAN. “It’s almost incomprehensible that I could be mistaken for a white male because I don’t look anything like a white male,” Chang continued.

Dominique Deshaun McGrew was arrested last April during a traffic stop near Victoria. In the dashcam video it’s clear that McGrew is African American.  But instead of recording him as black, the trooper recorded him as white.

Pastor Gonzalez Sosa was pulled over for speeding earlier this year in Caldwell County. In the dashcam video obtained by KXAN through an open records request, Sosa speaks Spanish to the trooper and tells him he is from Mexico. But the Hispanic trooper, who also speaks Spanish, documented Sosa’s race as white on the citation…

Lawmakers and media have scrutinized the race of drivers stopped by state troopers since the controversial arrest of Sandra Bland. A DPS trooper arrested Bland, who is African American, in Waller County this summer for a minor traffic violation. She later committed suicide in jail, according to the county coroner. The increasing number of Hispanic drivers reported in DPS racial profiling data has also been the focus of those legislative hearings and news reports. A KXAN analysis of the DPS traffic stop data confirms the number of drivers stopped by troopers and recorded as Hispanic has gone up annually since 2010, while the number of drivers recorded as white has gone down.

But a racial-profiling expert says what we uncovered reveals DPS statistics used to create its annual reports on traffic stops do not add up.

“The under-representation of Hispanics and over-representation of Caucasians on the contact data counts has a significant impact on the analysis of racial profiling trends,” said Dr. Alex Del Carmen, executive director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies at Tarleton State University in Fort Worth. “It is imperative that the citation count is accurately recorded and reported by all police officers that interact with the public. This is the only manner in which we can ensure an accurate representation of motor vehicle stops and trends.”… Read More on This Here

 
 

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DWB…By The Numbers

Great article in the NYT, with lots of information and data analyzing DWB Traffic Stops, and steps some communities are taking to change. Hit the link below and go over and read it!

The Disproportionate Risks of Driving While Black

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Rufus Scales, 26 and black, was driving his younger brother Devin to his hair-cutting class in this genteel, leafy city when they heard the siren’s whoop and saw the blue light in the rearview mirror of their black pickup. Two police officers pulled them over for minor infractions that included expired plates and failing to hang a flag from a load of scrap metal in the pickup’s bed. But what happened next was nothing like a routine traffic stop.

Uncertain whether to get out of the car, Rufus Scales said, he reached to restrain his brother from opening the door. A black officer stunned him with a Taser, he said, and a white officer yanked him from the driver’s seat. Temporarily paralyzed by the shock, he said, he fell face down, and the officer dragged him across the asphalt.

Rufus Scales emerged from the encounter with four traffic tickets; a charge of assaulting an officer, later dismissed; a chipped tooth; and a split upper lip that required five stitches.

That was May 2013. Today, his brother Devin does not leave home without first pocketing a hand-held video camera and a business card with a toll-free number for legal help. Rufus Scales instinctively turns away if a police car approaches.

“Whenever one of them is near, I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel safe,” he said.

As most of America now knows, those pervasive doubts about the police mirror those of millions of other African-Americans. More than a year of turmoil over the deaths of unarmed blacks after encounters with the police in Ferguson, Mo., in Baltimore and elsewhere has sparked a national debate over how much racial bias skews law enforcement behavior, even subconsciously.

Documenting racial profiling in police work is devilishly difficult, because a multitude of factors — including elevated violent crime rates in many black neighborhoods — makes it hard to tease out evidence of bias from other influences. But an analysis by The New York Times of tens of thousands of traffic stops and years of arrest data in this racially mixed city of 280,000 uncovered wide racial differences in measure after measure of police conduct.

Those same disparities were found across North Carolina, the state that collects the most detailed data on traffic stops. And at least some of them showed up in the six other states that collect comprehensive traffic-stop statistics.

Here in North Carolina’s third-largest city, officers pulled over African-American drivers for traffic violations at a rate far out of proportion with their share of the local driving population. They used their discretion to search black drivers or their cars more than twice as often as white motorists — even though they found drugs and weapons significantly more often when the driver was white.

Officers were more likely to stop black drivers for no discernible reason. And they were more likely to use force if the driver was black, even when they did not encounter physical resistance.

The routine nature of the stops belies their importance.

As the public’s most common encounter with law enforcement, they largely shape perceptions of the police. Indeed, complaints about traffic-law enforcement are at the root of many accusations that some police departments engage in racial profiling. Since Ferguson erupted in protests in August last year, three of the deaths of African-Americans that have roiled the nation occurred after drivers were pulled over for minor traffic infractions: a broken brake light, a missing front license plate and failure to signal a lane change.

Violence is rare, but routine traffic stops more frequently lead to searches, arrests and the opening of a trapdoor into the criminal justice system that can have a lifelong impact, especially for those without the financial or other resources to negotiate it….(more)

Yet traffic codes are so minutely drawn that virtually every driver will break some rule within a few blocks, experts say. “The traffic code is the best friend of the police officer,” said David A. Harris, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who studies police behavior and search-and-seizure law.

When a Greensboro officer pulled over Keith Maryland and Jasmine McRae, who are black, in Mr. Maryland’s burgundy Nissan early one evening in March, even that vast authority was exceeded, claimed Mr. Maryland’s lawyer, Graham Holt.

In an interview, Mr. Maryland said Officer Christopher Cline had told him that his registration had expired, although it was clearly valid for 15 more days. The officer then said Ms. McRae, sitting in the back seat, “looked like someone” and asked to search her purse. Officers do not have to tell drivers or their passengers that they have the right to refuse, and like the vast majority of people, Ms. McRae agreed. The officer found a small amount of marijuana and several grams of cocaine and arrested her.

Mr. Holt said the stop was illegal because there was no traffic infraction. And in fact, a police corporal summoned Mr. Maryland to the station the next day and scrawled VOID across the ticket for an expired registration.

But the department and a city review board still found that the officer had acted lawfully. And Ms. McRae ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession. She was sentenced to probation, incurring hundreds of dollars in fees.…More here…

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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