Missouri’s annual racial profiling report has supporters and detractors

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(KPLR) - Missouri’s annual report on vehicle stops reveals the state is flunking the grade when it comes to stopping racial profiling. Critics of the formula used to create the report say the findings are misleading.

Statistics compiled from throughout the state found African-American drivers are 69% more likely to be pulled over than other drivers.

“It’s a demeaning feeling,” said Rev. B.T. Rice, V.P. of the St. Louis County branch of the N.A.A.C.P.  He says he’s been pulled over before for what appeared to be the color of his skin.

“We’ve made tremendous progress, but we have a long way to go,” Rice said.

The formula compares the racial breakdown of subjects stopped by police against the population of the police department’s city.  Critics say the findings are misleading.  For example, the formula found Pine Lawn pulled over a disproportionately high number of Caucasian drivers in 2015.  Pine Lawn’s population is predominately African-African, but many traffic stops took place on I-70 and involved drivers passing through Pine Lawn.

The report also found Ladue Police pulled over a disproportionately high number of African-Americans.  Ladue is predominately white, but traffic stops include vehicles traveling through Ladue on I-64.  Some say those factors result in misleading findings.

Rice believes racial profiling is a problem that needs to be addressed by the state.

“These are not figures that we are trying to put on people for guilt trips,” said Rice.  “These are actual figures.”

We checked with the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police for a response.  The agency’s president Kevin Ahlbrand was not available for an interview.  He did say his agency is working with groups such as the A.C.L.U. to come up with the best possible ways to collect data for the annual report mandated by Missouri law.

For the entire report, and to search by police department go to: http://ago.mo.gov/home/vehicle-stops-report