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Extensive document on racial biases in our criminal justice system.
Studies seem to indicate about 61-80% of black overrepresentation in prisons can be explained by higher black crime rates, with the unexplained portion largely attributable to racial bias.
Remember - the factors which lead to disproportionate criminality amongst black Americans are also in large part a product of racial bias. Underfunded public programs, redlining, generational poverty, bad schooling, and myriad other factors which influence criminality can also be traced to racial bias.
Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department
Between 2012 and 2014, black people in Ferguson accounted for 85 percent of vehicle stops, 90 percent of citations and 93 percent of arrests, despite comprising 67 percent of the population.
Blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be searched after traffic stops even after controlling for related variables, though they proved to be 26 percent less likely to be in possession of illegal drugs or weapons.
Between 2011 and 2013, blacks also received 95 percent of jaywalking tickets and 94 percent of tickets for “failure to comply.” The Justice Department also found that the racial discrepancy for speeding tickets increased dramatically when researchers looked at tickets based on only an officer’s word vs. tickets based on objective evidence, such as a radar.
Black people facing similar low-level charges as white people were 68 percent less likely to see those charges dismissed in court. More than 90 percent of the arrest warrants stemming from failure to pay/failure to appear were issued for black people.
Biases in Stops, Searches & Arrests
This ACLU report reviews 5 months’ of data from DC police stops & searches by race and outcome.
The black population of DC is 25% greater than the white population, but black people were 410% more likely to be stopped by the police than white people
This disparity increases to 1465% for stops which led to no warning, ticket or arrest and 3695% for searches which led to no warning, ticket or arrest.
This data indicates the disproportionate stopping and searching of blacks in the DC area extended massively beyond any disproportionate rate of criminality.
The Problem of Infra-marginality in Outcome Tests for Discrimination
Analysis of 4.5 million traffic stops in North Carolina shows blacks and latinos were more likely to be searched than whites (5.4 percent, 4.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively).
Despite this, searches of white motorists were the most likely to reveal contraband (32% of whites, 29% of blacks, 19% of latinos).
Between 2011 and 2015, black drivers in Nashville’s Davidson County were pulled over at a rate of 1,122 stops per 1,000 drivers — so on average, more than once per black driver.
Black drivers were also searched at twice the rate of white drivers, though — as in other jurisdictions — searches of white drivers were more likely to turn up contraband.
A large-scale analysis of racial disparities in police stops across the United States
Enormous study of nearly 100,000,000 traffic stops conducted across America.
Analysis finds the bar for searching black and hispanic drivers’ cars is significantly lower than the bar for white drivers.
Additionally, black drivers are less likely to be pulled over after sunset, when “a ‘veil of darkness’ masks ones’ race”.
Biases by Judges, Juries & Prosecutors
Examination of federal data indicates Black Americans spend about 10% more time in prison when compared to comparable Whites who commit the same crimes.
Additionally, Black arrestees are 75% more likely to be charged with a crime carrying a mandatory minimum sentence.
Prosecutors contribute massively to this undeniable racial bias.
Report on Jury Selection Study
Between 1990 and 2010, state prosecutors struck about 53% of black people eligible for juries in criminal cases, as opposed to 26% of white people. The study’s authors testified the odds of this taking place in a race-neutral context were around 1 in 10 trillion.
After accounting for factors prosecutors select for which tend to correlate with race, black people were still struck twice as often.
North Carolina’s state legislator had previously passed a law stating death penalty defendants who could demonstrate racial bias in their jury selection could have their sentences changed to life without parole. The legislature later repealed that law.
Different Shades of Bias: Skin Tone, Implicit Racial Bias, and Judgments of Ambiguous Evidence
In this study, two groups of mock jurors were given a collection of race-neutral evidence from an armed robbery, with one group’s alleged perpetrator being shown to be light-skinned and the other dark-skinned.
Jurors were significantly more likely to evaluate ambiguous, race-neutral evidence against the dark-skinned suspect as incriminating and more likely to find the dark-skinned suspect guilty.