Department of Justice Statistics Show Clear Pattern of Racial Profiling

April 29, 2007 12:00 am

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ACLU Calls on Department of Justice to Explain Omissions in Report

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union said today that a newly released Department of Justice report on racial profiling shows an alarming racial disparity in the rate at which motorists are searched by local law enforcement.

The following statement can be attributed to Dennis Parker, Director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project:

“These findings demonstrate clear and significant racial disparities in the way in which motorists are treated once they have been stopped by law enforcement. The report found that blacks and Hispanics were roughly three times as likely to be searched during a traffic stop, blacks were twice as likely to be arrested and blacks were nearly four times as likely to experience the threat or use of force during interactions with the police.

“And while the Department of Justice says that the higher rate of searches of blacks and Hispanics is not necessarily the result of racial bias, it begs a critical question: why are blacks and Hispanics subject to searches disproportionately? It’s a question that needs to be answered.

“Moreover, there was a significant figure left out of this report – the racial breakdown of the number of searches that resulted in the discovery of illegal contraband. Previous reports demonstrated that while black and Hispanic drivers were more likely than whites to be searched by law enforcement during traffic stops, they were less likely to be harboring contraband. In 2005 the Justice Department went so far as to try to conceal these numbers. They even demoted the official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, who compiled them. This report makes no mention of the racial breakdown of the hit rate. It’s an eerie silence and the Justice Department needs to explain why this is not in the report.”

A letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to suppress racial profiling statistics in 2005 is at:

More information on racial profiling can be found at:

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