Law enforcement officers in California searched teenagers that were perceived to be Black at nearly six times the rate of teens they perceived to be white during vehicle and pedestrian stops in 2021, according to an annual report by California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board outlined by the Associated Press. The board’s report includes data on vehicle and pedestrian stops by officers from 58 California law enforcement agencies, including the 23 largest departments in the state, in 2021.
The report found that the individual was perceived to be Hispanic or Latino in more than 42% of the 3.1 million stops by those law enforcement agencies in 2021, while more than 30% were perceived to be white and 15% were believed to be Black. Statewide, though, 2021 Census estimates say Black or African American people made up just 6.5% of the California population, while white people comprised about 35%, and Hispanic or Latino people made up about 40% of the state’s population.
“The data show that racial and identity disparities persist year after year. The Board remains committed to analyzing and highlighting these disparities to compel evidence-driven strategies for reforming policing and eliminating racial and identity profiling in California.” — California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board, Annual Report 2023
The report says that police handcuffed, searched, or detained – either in a patrol car or curbside – individuals they believed to be Black youths between 15- and 17-years-old at a higher rate than any other combination of perceived race or ethnicity age group and that officers searched people they perceived to be Black at 2.2 times the rate of people they believed to be white.
The report includes data from 40 more agencies than the 2020 report, meaning it analyzed an additional 246,000 stops. Of the 18 agencies that collected data during both years, 13 made fewer stops in 2021, which the report said may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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