BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Startling data has been released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland: the findings are part of what is being realized as a long-standing issue in the state and country. Black drivers are stopped and searched by police at a higher rate than their white counterparts.
New data released by the ACLU shows what some may find surprising, but for others, it’s a reality.
“The concern we have is, we are seeing consistent disparities,” said Staff Attorney for ACLU Maryland, Sonia Kumar.
The data reveals black motorists in Anne Arundel County account for 29% of the stops and 35% of the county police’s searches.
“I think the very next step is for law enforcement officials to acknowledge what the data shows and begin looking, proactively, for ways to address race disparities and outcomes,” said Kumar.
In Howard County, 37% of the stops and 43% of the searches involve black drivers.
And in Baltimore County, 50% of stops were those of black drivers and 53% of the searches included someone black.
“Whether or not it is intentional or driven by other policy decisions, it’s important for law enforcement officials to confront them and take action,” said Kumar.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz responding to the data saying,
“We are concerned about the most recent data that appears to be a statewide issue. We have entered into a partnership with the council and state governments justice center to review all the policies and procedures in the baltimore county police department.”
This issue is one that Kumar says is long-standing in Maryland and it’s a long overdue for a those in charge to make a change.
“To take ownership of some of the disparities and start examining what is driving them,” said Kumar.
The data collected for this particular analysis does not look at all stops, but subset of traffic stops and searches. New data revealing what is said to be a long-standing problem.
The data from the analysis exists because of a law suit in 1992 that involved a black driver, who was a Harvard educated attorney, and is now a United States Court of Appeals Circuit judge for the District of Columbia, was stopped and searched. Mostly because of his race. Now, the law requires the information to be record, but with 20 years passing, some still say little has changed.
Additionally, Baltimore City has not produced data for this analysis, but a staff attorney with the ACLU says research shows that black drivers in Baltimore City too, are stopped and searched at higher rates than their white counterparts.