Missouri police were more likely to stop and search black drivers than white drivers in 2014, yet they were more likely to find contraband with white drivers, an annual Missouri attorney general report reveals, according to the New York Times.
According to the report, police were 75 percent more likely to stop black motorists than white motorists, and they were 73 percent more likely to search black drivers than white drivers.
However, although the officers disproportionately stopped black drivers, the report found that they were more likely to find illegal items from white drivers: Nearly 27 percent of whites who were searched possessed something illegal, compared with 21 percent of blacks.
The rate at which the police pulled over black drivers rather than white ones last year represents the largest disparity since Missouri began keeping records in 2000, according to the report.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said that the data does not necessarily prove “that law enforcement officers are making vehicle stops based on the perceived race or ethnicity of the driver,” according to the Times. However, Koster called his findings “a starting point” to examine policing and race.
The report comes against the backdrop of a Department of Justice report this year that uncovered a pattern and practice of racially biased policing in Ferguson, Mo. It found that Ferguson police officers targeted black drivers. They routinely stopped them without having a reasonable suspicion and made arrests without probable cause.
Read more at the New York Times.