I have a hard time expressing just how much I loathe New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his latest appalling claim about the NYPD’s blatantly unconstitutional stop and frisk policy are a perfect example why. Despite the massive racial disparities in who gets stopped and frisked, Bloomberg thinks it isn’t quite racist enough yet:
One newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying ‘oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the [crime]. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they’re saying. I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course. Or a logic course.
Really? You stop too many white people? Then why does it turn out that a higher percentage of the white people who are being stopped are found to actually be breaking the law than the black and Latino people you stop? In fact, white people who are stopped and frisked are twice as likely to be found with a gun. Could it be because your officers have to have stronger evidence to become suspicious of a white person while they are automatically suspicious of a dark-skinned person? Not only is that conclusion logical, it is supported by a mountain of social psychological research too. The pattern is the same all over the country and study after study has confirmed this. The traffic stops of black, white and Latino people are in almost exactly the inverse proportion of their population numbers yet the white people who are stopped are usually more likely to be found doing something illegal.
A study of stops by the New Jersey State Police on the New Jersey Turnpike, for example, found that 15% of the drivers on the turnpike were minorities, but blacks were 42% of those stopped for a traffic violation and 72% of those subsequently arrested — despite the fact that blacks and whites were equally as likely to be violating traffic laws at the time. 77% of all searches were of minorities. A similar study in Maryland found that 17% of drivers on a major highway were black, but 70% of those stopped and searched were black. For minorities on the whole, they constituted 21% of all drivers but 80% of those who were stopped and searched.
But here’s the even more important finding. In both of those studies, whites who were pulled over and searched were actually more likely to have illegal drugs or contraband in their vehicles. In New Jersey, whites were twice as likely to be found with illegal drugs or contraband than blacks and five times more likely than Latinos. The same thing held true in Maryland. The courts should have ended this nonsense long ago.
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