OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — A report by the Oakland Police Department released Monday said its officers stop and search blacks far more frequently than any other racial group in the city, but when Asians were stopped by police, 76 percent of the time it was for a traffic violation.
While blacks comprise 28 percent of Oakland’s population, they accounted for 62 percent of nearly 15,000 total police stops during an eight-month period, according to the preliminary report. Hispanics were the next highest at 17 percent followed by whites at 12 percent. Asians and other groups comprised 9 percent.
When the reason for a stop was a traffic violations, blacks had the lowest percentage at 54 percent, compared to Asians, 76 percent. Blacks, however, had the highest percentage of being stopped due to probable cause and reasonable suspicion. The information was collected between April and November of last year.
The report had been ordered by a federally appointed monitor as part of court-mandated reforms to settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging widespread misconduct in the aftermath of the Riders police brutality scandal more than a decade ago.
Attorney John Burris, one of two lawyers who represented the plaintiffs in the case who’s also overseeing the still yet-to-be-completed reforms, said Monday that he was disappointed but not surprised by the disproportionate number of blacks stopped by police.
“There’s a long-held belief in the African-American community that they were being stopped without reasonable suspicion and they were being searched,” Burris said. “This is just a drop in the bucket and we only have six months’ worth of data. We’ve been trying to get this type of information for over a decade. This is the first step in a long process of rooting out these issues related to racial profiling.”
LISTEN: KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Says Federal Report That Reveals 62 Percent Of Oakland’s Police Stops Are African-Americans Needs Context