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Police Traffic Stops Decline, Racial Disparities Persist

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku
Flickr Creative Commons

Across the state, police traffic stops have dropped, but for white drivers they've declined twice as fast as for Black drivers.
That's according to atrend report released by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety this week. It has collected data on traffic stops for all major police departments and sheriff offices in the state for almost two decades.

Police were twice as likely to pull over Black drivers than white drivers. When it comes to speeding, police were actually more likely to pull over white drivers. But when it comes to regulatory or equipment violations, Black drivers were far more likely to be pulled over.

ACLU Field Manager Angaza Laughinghouse says many agencies claim they don't have racial biases.

"But if you see that they are stopping Black motorists two times as much as they're stopping white motorists, then they clearly do have an issue," said Laughinghouse. "They clearly are part of the problem when it comes to race."

DPS is expected to release more traffic stop analysis reports in the coming weeks.

Jason deBruyn is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Digital News, a position he took in 2024. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016 as a reporter.
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