It has long been suspected that racial profiling plays a large part in the way that traffic stops are made, and additionally, that minorities are more likely to face charges on the road because of this. New research by Stanford University has now compiled evidence to suggest that there is a clear pattern of racial disparities in traffic stops.
This new data is considered to be the most comprehensive evidence to date, and it has the potential to empower those who have been unjustly stopped when driving by giving them good grounds to argue that they were a victim of racial bias.
What is the research about?
The university researchers obtained documents through public records to gain information about almost 100 million traffic stops across 21 states. These traffic stops all occurred between 2011 and 2017, and they form the largest dataset ever created on traffic stops.
Researchers noticed a clear disparity between how frequently black and Latino drivers were stopped and searched. The main finding was that black and Latino drivers were searched more often, but were less likely to be found in the possession of illegal items. This suggests that police officers did not have sufficient grounds to search drivers in many cases and that their decision to do so was based on racial bias.
White drivers were searched less often than minority drivers, but when they were searched, they were more likely to be found with illegal items. This suggests that police officers made decisions about whether to search white drivers based on objective evidence, or that their racial bias made them less likely to conduct a search and seizure.
What does this research mean for victims of wrongful traffic stops?
Many minorities who are frustrated at the circumstances of their traffic stop have only been able to base theories of systematic racial bias on anecdotal evidence until now. However, this study has given weight to the argument that racial profiling is happening, and that it is having a negative effect on black and Latino drivers across the United States.
If you have been pulled over by law enforcement officials and you believe that you were subjected to a wrongful search, you should understand the necessary steps that will help you to get justice. Doing so may help you to defend yourself from any charges that have been brought about.