Black drivers in Missouri are nearly twice as likely to be pulled over than white drivers, according to a new report by the state's attorney general.
The report, released Monday by the office of Attorney General Eric Schmitt, found that black drivers had a 91 percent higher chance of being pulled over than their white counterparts. That was one of a number of disturbing statistics that add to the perception of Missouri as one of the most dangerous places in the U.S. for black people.
The trend reflected in this year's report, while troubling, is nothing new. In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for black people driving in Missouri based in part on data from the 2016 attorney general's report.Black drivers in the state are 91 percent more likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers, a report from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt's office found.
This year, Schmitt's office found that when the data was isolated to certain cities and neighborhoods, the racial disparity of traffic stops jumped even higher.
According to reporting from the Associated Press:
In the Kansas City-area city of Blue Springs, which is 87 percent white based on 2010 census data and close to Interstate 70, black drivers in general were 275 percent more likely to be stopped. When isolating stops to residents, data show black drivers were nearly three times as likely to be stopped compared to white resident drivers.
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The data is "worrisome," said University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, who helped the attorney general's office analyze the traffic stop data that led to the report's conclusions.
"Now we have a more accurate indicator of disparity because the population base is, if you will, the correct one," said Rosenfeld.
In a statement, the ACLU of Missouri's legislative and policy director Sara Baker said that the findings of the report mean concrete actions must be taken to fix the problem.
"A report is not enough," said Baker.
In an editorial about the findings of the report, The Kansas City Star also called for the state to do something about the racial disparities in traffic stops and told the state's law enforcement officials that they could no longer plead ignorance on the problem.
"The data should serve as a wake-up call for law enforcement officials, who have spent years lobbying against efforts to combat racial profiling," wrote the Star.