A new study by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Illinois chapter has found that despite the fact that white drivers are far more likely to be found with contraband, black and Latino motorists are far more likely to be pulled over in Chicago.
The study is based on an analysis of 100,676 traffic stops conducted by the Chicago Police Department in 2013, and found that blacks are 42 percent more likely to be stopped than would otherwise be expected, given that they comprise only 32 percent of the city’s population.
Moreover, minorities are stopped by the Chicago Police Department at an even higher rate in districts that oversee a higher percentage of Caucasian populations. In the nine districts with the highest percentage of white residents, blacks were 52 percent more likely to be pulled over.
“This data reveals a stark truth – if you are African American, you are far more likely than white motorists to be subjected to a traffic stop by the CPD,” Adam Schwartz, senior counsel for the ACLU of Illinois, said. “It also is a reality that the tendency of CPD to over-stop African American motorists increases in the parts of the City that are predominantly white.”
The study also found that, once pulled over, Caucasian drivers were also more likely to be in possession of contraband than their black or Latino counterparts.
“For a decade, we have shown that drivers of color are far more likely to be subjected to consent searches of their cars, and far less likely to be found with contraband when a consent search takes place,” Schwartz said.
“This pattern holds across three additional kinds of searches,” he added. “This data is powerful evidence that police use different standards, depending upon motorist race and ethnicity, when deciding when to perform four different kinds of searches during traffic stops.”