West Virginia: Traffic Stop Cops Target Minorities

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
west virginia traffic stop cops target minorities

Black motorists may be as much as three times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white motorist while driving through the state of West Virginia, even though they are less likely to be carrying contraband. This is so according to a report by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The agency performed a statistical analysis of 301,479 traffic stops that took place between April 2007 and September 2008. Among all 348 state, county and local law enforcement agencies, blacks were 64 percent more likely than whites to be stopped. Hispanics were 48 percent more likely to be stopped.

Once pulled over, a black and Hispanic drivers were 146 percent more likely to be searched — even though they were less likely to be carrying contraband than whites, according to the study. Indians and Asians were more likely than whites to be carrying prohibited items when searched.

In certain parts of the state, minorities are treated differently. In Calhoun and Wirt counties, for example, blacks and Hispanics were six times more likely to be searched. The Parkersburg and Martinsburg police departments were twice as likely to stop minorities. However, even in cities like Charleston where police treated white and non-white motorists equally, certain patrol areas such as North Charleston and South Ruffner to Route 119 targeted non-whites.

“Despite the higher search rates for black drivers, Charleston PD, Beckley PD, Huntington PD, and Wheeling PD had lower contraband hit rates for black drivers compared to white drivers,” the report explained.

The study also found that 23.8 percent of drivers ticketed were from out-of-state. Tickets were most frequently issued — 44 percent of the time — for speeding. The month of May and the hours of 4pm and 10pm are the most heavily ticketed times. Each stop lasted an average of eleven minutes and drivers had a 49.5 percent chance of escaping with just a warning. The study did not examine any disparity in the frequency of warnings issued to women as compared to men.

The state legislature ordered police agencies to begin gathering racial data on January 1, 2007. A copy of the final report is available in a 275k PDF file at the source link below.

West Virginia Traffic Stop Study (WV Division of Criminal Justice Services, 2/28/2009)

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  • Geeber Geeber on Aug 04, 2009
    agenthex: Oh goody. Another freedom loving winger to defend the virtue of harassment by petty authoritarians. As opposed to another poster attempting to turn this into a civil rights violation, because he is ignorant of the proper procedure to be followed in this type of case. agenthex: It’s funny because the arrest report was in several places contradicted by the very person who made the call (and the 911 tapes), It's a good idea to actually read the report and read the words on the page, not what one wants to see. The officer initially asked Professor Gates to come to the porch to ascertain who he was, thus enabling him to determine whether he was legally entitled to be in the residence, or if he was in any immediate danger (from someone else hidden in the house with a gun). Gates was already in the foyer of the house before Officer Crowley arrived on the scene. The officer saw him through the glass panes of the front door. It was Gates who immediately refused to leave the house and began accusing the officer of racism. agenthex: I mean, “police investigation”, OMG LOL. They were investigating a potential burglary, called in by a neighbor. That is the definition of a police investigation, at least to those of us who understand such things. If you get your knowledge of police work from network television, please note that police investigations aren't limited to cases where there is a corpse or a million-dollar robbery. Generally, police calls involve far more mundane matters - such as this one. agenthex: The neighbor told the cop the “intruder” may very well live there, the officer was given two pieces of photo ID, admitted to properly identifying Gates early on IN HIS OWN REPORT before gates got uppity and was taught a lesson. But you gotta give it to the winger to start making shit up outside of all facts in the case. Wrong. Professor Gates began yellling at the officer and accusing him of racism BEFORE he provided identification. The officer said that he was "led to believe" that Gates was lawfully in the residence, that is not the same thing as being completely sure. (And Professor Gates was yelling at him and hurling bogus and silly accusations of racism before that.) Professor Gates initially refused to provide identification, and demanded to see the officer's idenfication. My suggestion is that you refrain from throwing around the acccusations of fabrication, as you are guilty of it yourself. Projecting, perhaps...? agenthex: Actually, the reason why is because he wanted gates to be in a “public” place to justify the arrest. It’s a well known strategy which is why it’s good advice NOT to “step outside” when you think the cop is trying to screw with you, not unlike when they try to trick you to give permission to get in without a warrant. When a police officer is investigating a call such as this, the procedure is to have the person answering the door step outside to make sure that no one is holding a gun on the person. If the person is doing nothing wrong, there is no reason to worry about an arrest. The simple fact is that even in the kindest version, Professor Gates comes across as the north end of a south-bound horse, which is probably why he quickly shut up in the ensuing ruckus.

  • U mad scientist U mad scientist on Aug 04, 2009

    Since you don't seem to be big on intellectual honesty and will probably just go away hoping no one notices the winger tendencies, here's the report for anyone interested : http://www.scribd.com/doc/17512830/Gates-Police-Report Notice it's typical CYA police work.

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