Stanford Researchers find that Black and Latino Drivers Searched Based on less Evidence and More likely to be Arrested
In June, Stanford University researchers found evidence that black and Latino drivers face a double standard and that police require far less suspicion to search them than their white counterparts. Their findings are based on an analysis of more than 60 million police stops in 20 states from 2011 to 2015. The database, which is the largest collection of traffic-stop data ever compiled, was made public in June by the Stanford Open Policing Project. According to the study, more than 20 million Americans annually are stopped for traffic violations. The findings noted,
When we applied the threshold test to our traffic stop data, we find police require less suspicion to search black and Hispanic drivers than whites. This double standard is evidence of discrimination.
Researchers from Stanford’s Computational Journalism Lab and the School of Engineering determined that black drivers are generally stopped at a higher rate than white motorists, and Latinos are stopped at a similar or lower rate than whites, after adjusting for age, gender, time and location. After being stopped, black and Latino drivers are ticketed, searched and arrested more often than whites. For example, when pulled over for speeding, black drivers are 20 percent more likely than whites to be ticketed and Latino drivers are 30 percent more likely than whites to be ticketed. Sharad Goel, assistant professor and leader of the Stanford Law, Order & Algorithms Project, said the researchers are seeking to develop a platform to help understand and improve policing. Hopefully research like this does lead to an improvement in policing and help end the double standards that were found in this study.