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ACLU: Racial Disparity In Traffic Stops Still A Problem

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union has revealed African-American drivers bear an undue burden of traffic stops in Chicago.

ACLU senior attorney Adam Schwartz said Chicago Police Department statistics showed African-Americans made 46 percent of all traffic stops in the city in 2013, although they represent 32 percent of the population. The disparity was even greater in police districts where the majority of the population is white.

"For example, the Near Northwest police district – which is majority white – while African-Americans are only, I think, 9 percent of the population, they are 18 percent of the traffic stops; a factor of two," Schwartz said.

The analysis also showed black and Hispanic motorists are more likely to be searched after a traffic stop, even though white drivers are more often found carrying contraband.

"We think that it is very troubling that African-American motorists are far more likely to be stopped than white motorists; and that African-American and Hispanic motorists are far more likely to be searched than white motorists," Schwartz said.


Schwartz said the ACLU wants studies of racial disparities in traffic stops extended to street stops. The ACLU also is calling for police to wear body cameras during all traffic stops to help even out the racial disparity.

"There ought to be no targeting of minorities for stops and searches. We believe, when the system is working, that people of all races, and colors, and religions, and whatnot are getting stopped by the police and searched by the police at similar rates," he said.

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