Story at a glance

  • Black drivers in California accounted for 15 percent of all stops while just making up 6 percent of the population.
  • Police were more likely to stop black men between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • The largest racial disparity was found in San Francisco

Black drivers in California’s largest cities are stopped and searched by police more often than white and Latino drivers, according to a new state analysis.

The report, recently released by the state’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board, revealed that black people accounted for 15 percent of all stops, yet they make up only about 6 percent of the state’s population.

White and Latino drivers were stopped at rates proportional to population estimates, with Hispanics accounting for about 40 percent of stops. Police were also more likely to stop black men between the ages of 25 and 34.

The analysis found a higher percentage of black individuals were stopped for reasonable suspicion than any other racial identity group, and officers were nearly three times as likely to search black drivers than white drivers. The report also found black motorists were more likely to be stopped and arrested at night. 

The largest racial disparity was found in San Francisco, where police were five times more likely to stop and search African Americans. 

The report is part of an initiative to track racial profiling by police. Under a 2015 law, California police are mandated to log their perception of race, gender and sexual orientation of anyone they stop. The report includes information from the eight largest law enforcement agencies on 1.8 million police stops and searches — the majority of which are traffic stops — from July 2018 through December 2018.

Published on Jan 03, 2020