Chicago Police Stop Seven Times as Many Black Drivers as White Motorists

A state-produced study of traffic stops in the city reveals that traffic stops in the city have risen sharply, with Black motorists pulled over at much higher rates than their white counterparts.

September 15, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock

According to John Greenfield, "the recent news that Chicago police officers have continued to pull over Black drivers exponentially more often than their white counterparts should trouble anyone who wants our city to have a more equitable mobility system."

The "Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Study found that local police stopped over 204,000 African-American motorists in 2020, while only about 35,000 white drivers were pulled over. The report is published each year in accordance with a 2003 state law intended to help local governments identify and address racial profiling." Over the years, the number of Black drivers stopped by Chicago police has hovered at roughly seven times as many as white drivers.

In 2015, "the city agreed to make sure that investigatory stops of pedestrians, aka 'stop and frisk' were done in a constitutional, racially equitable manner" as part of an agreement with a civil liberties group. "While pedestrian stops plummeted in the wake of that agreement (although the vast majority of those stopped were still African-American), motorists stops have generally sharply risen since then." Even during 2020, when overall driving fell sharply due to the pandemic, "about 62 percent of drivers pulled over were Black, while only about 10 percent were white."

Another notable finding: "90 percent of the traffic stops did not result in a citation, which suggests that motorists generally aren’t being stopped for egregious traffic violations," leading civil liberties advocates to argue that the stops may often have little justification.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 in Streetsblog Chicago


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