Missouri report shows racial profiling by police continues - KOAM TV 7

Missouri report shows racial profiling by police continues


A new report from the state of Missouri seems to show more black drivers are being pulled over than white drivers.

Missouri has required police departments to fill out forms after a traffic stop detailing the age and color of the person pulled over.

These reports show that the rate that black drivers have been pulled over more than other ethnicities has increased in 10 of the last 12 years.

The numbers are based on the percentage of various minorities living in communities compared to the percentage of traffic stops.

Cities like Anderson, Joplin, Neosho and Webb City all show a more likely-run in with black drivers and police.

In Carthage, police have stopped twice as many blacks as what the state's formula says they should.  Most stops were for traffic violations.

"If we had somebody in this department that I believed was racially profiling, then they would not be working for this department," says Police Chief Greg Dagnan.

Chief Dagnan says while the data is not scientific, the reports are beneficial.

"They're good in the sense that it causes us to look at our numbers, to look at each officer, to look at each shift, and see if there's any trends or patterns, and if any racial profiling is happening," Chief Dagnan says.

Police are allowed to say they are looking for a black male wearing a red shirt.  Once they stop someone fitting that description, the state's statistics could go against them.

"These also don't track people by name so if you have an individual in your town who is just causing all kinds of problems, who is committing all kinds of crimes, getting stopped all the time, and he happens to be of a certain race, well that will throw off the numbers for that race," says Chief Dagnan.

Regardless, NAACP member and Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean says the notion of racial profiling is unacceptable.

"In this day and age we should not have to be contending with that," Mayor Colbert-Kean says.

Joplin's mayor opens the door to even more communication between residents and police.

"There should be some avenues that we can find out about and say, is this occurring because there are people coming in from out of town, is this from residents normally living here, what kind of instances are making this occur, or is this really happening?" says Colbert-Kean.

To see the Missouri Attorney General's detailed report on racial profiling including the numbers in your community visit http://ago.mo.gov/VehicleStops/2011/

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