Racial disparity in driver stops may be due to policy, says data scientist

Data scientist Amy Shoemaker said a recent Stanford University study revealing racial disparities in police traffic stops and searches is likely more of a result of police policy than individual bias. 

"All of the work that we have done in this analysis focuses on the policy itself," Shoemaker, who works at the Stanford Computational Policy Lab, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton last month. 

"Since it's not looking into individual officer behavior, it's commenting on the racial bias that exists in this policy at large," she continued. 

"This doesn't necessarily come from discrimination or malintent," she said. "It could come from policies that are misinformed, and are actually having this adverse side effect." 

The Stanford Open Policing Project collected and analyzed 200 million records of traffic stops across the nation, revealing that police officers tend to stop black drivers at higher rates than white drivers. 

The study also found that officers ticket, search, and arrest black and Hispanic drivers at a higher rate than white drivers. 

Black drivers are 20 percent more likely to get a ticket from police officers than white drivers, while Hispanic drivers are 30 percent more likely to get a ticket than white drivers. 

— Julia Manchester