It’s weird to write news that doesn’t feel like news, but here it goes: A new study confirms what we have always known—black people in California are stopped by law enforcement officers more often than any other racial group.
The study, conducted by California’s Open Justice Initiative using “the largest-ever dataset compiled about US police stops,” reveals that black drivers and pedestrians are more likely to be searched, handcuffed and detained; and that they are significantly more likely to have firearms pointed at them by officers, the Guardian reports. This is a startling reality, as police are “less likely to find drugs, weapons or other contraband” on black, Latino and Native American people than they are when they search white people.
For example, “Twenty-eight percent of all persons stopped by Los Angeles police officers during the last six months of 2018 were black, while black people account for just 9% of the city’s population, the data shows.”
The city of San Francisco boasted more abysmal numbers: “In San Francisco, the black population has shrunk over several decades to just 5% of the city’s total population, but 26% of all stops carried out by the SFPD from July through December of 2018 were of black people—marking the widest racial disparity in police stops of the eight reporting agencies.”
These troubling statistics were based on an analysis of 2018 data provided by the eight largest police agencies in California; the data was collected under the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, a California law designed to eliminate racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.
Lately, California’s been killing it with its new laws, including new labor protections and its CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair). Now let’s pray that other states follow suit and finally acknowledge what black folks have known for centuries: we are moving targets.