RACIAL PROFILING….Lots of blogospheric coverage of the Boston Globe study of racial profiling in Massachussetts. The results are shocking: Hispanics and blacks who were stopped by police were 50% more likely to be searched than whites. Who would have guessed?
But I think there’s some kind of east coast bias at work here, because we have our very own study of racial profiling in Los Angeles and nobody’s mentioned it yet. Here’s the deal: we’ve had a bit of police unpleasantness over the past decade in Los Angeles, and the LAPD was finally forced to sign a consent decree with the Justice Department about a year ago. One of the aspects of the consent decree is that the LAPD is required to keep statistics on traffic stops, something that LA’s finest don’t find amusing:
The requirement is widely resented by LAPD officers. Many say they do not stop people merely because of their race, and that they often cannot tell the race of people they are tailing, particularly at night.
Maybe so, but apparently they can figure out someone’s race after they’ve pulled them over:
Among the findings: Thirty-eight percent of drivers stopped by police were recorded as Latino, 33% were white and 18% black. According to the 2000 Census, the city’s population is 46.5% Latino, 29.7% white and 10.9% African American.
Of those pulled over, 7% of whites were asked to step out of their cars, compared with 22% of Latinos and 22% of blacks. Once out of their cars, 67% of the blacks were patted down and 85% were subjected to a search of their person, car, residence or belongings, while 55% of Latinos were frisked and 84% were searched. Meanwhile, 50% of whites were frisked and 71% were searched.
Just in case you don’t want to bother doing the math, the bottom line is that Los Angeles police would sneer at a mere 50% difference in the rate at which they search minorities. Among people who were pulled over:
3.5% of whites were frisked and 5% were searched.
12% of Latinos were frisked and 18.5% were searched.
14.7% of blacks were frisked and 18.7% were searched
Man, I sure wish I were black so I could benefit from all those affirmative action goodies. Life would sure be sweet then.
UPDATE: One of my readers thinks I should avoid sarcastic tag lines like the last sentence of this post. Comments?