0726 GMT February 28, 2020
Twenty eight per cent of all persons stopped by Los Angeles Police officers during the last six months of 2018 were black, while black people account for just nine percent of the city’s population, the data shows, according to the Guardian.
In San Francisco, the black population has shrunk over several decades to just five percent of the city’s total population, but 26 percent of all stops carried out by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) from July through December of 2018 were of black people — marking the widest racial disparity in police stops of the eight reporting agencies.
According to the new data, black people are much more likely to have firearms pointed at them by police officers. They also are more likely to be detained, handcuffed and searched. At the same time, when the police search black, Latino and Native American people, they are less likely to find drugs, weapons or other contraband compared to when they search white people.
The stark findings are based on an analysis of records of 1.8 million people stopped by the eight largest police agencies in California in 2018. The data was collected by each police agency and provided to the California Department of Justice under a 2015 state law that mandates efforts to eliminate racial profiling by law enforcement.
The racial disparities revealed in the new statistics reflect the findings of older studies about racial profiling in US police departments that were based on smaller, less-detailed data sets. But California’s new numbers make up the largest-ever dataset compiled about police stops in the US, and they lend considerable support to minority groups who have long complained about biased policing.
In Los Angeles, “black people in particular, and Latinos, are fearful of the police and are constantly having their dignity compromised by unwarranted stops and searches”, said Alberto Retana, the CEO of the Community Coalition of Los Angeles, one of the groups in a new coalition seeking to eliminate racial profiling called Push LA.
Los Angeles Police are continuing to use aggressive tactics in black and Latino neighborhoods, Retana said, even though violent crime rates in the city have dropped to historic lows.
Bryant Mangum said he has been pulled over by the LAPD approximately 30 times over the past couple years. The father of three lives in South Central Los Angeles and works in a warehouse. He also runs a startup that helps elderly people take trash out of their houses to the curb, and he is on the board of a not-for-profit that helps parolees start their own businesses.
Still, Mangum, who is black, feels harassed by the police.
“At night it never fails, I don’t get a ticket or explanation,” said Mangum.
“They pull me out of the car, I’m handcuffed, and they search my car, for I don’t know what.”