SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The City of San Jose’s Independent Police auditor believes new data on police detentions and arrests shows that racial bias exists in the department.
The San Jose Mercury News reported the data collected from the police department at the request of independent police auditor LaDoris Cordell shows that police have pulled over, searched and handcuffed blacks and Latinos at higher rates last year than their share of the city’s overall population.
Blacks and Latinos make up just more than a third of the city’s population, yet those groups made up nearly two-thirds of the city’s traffic stops, including searches.
Cordell, a retired judge, says the data may show there is prejudice in the department and is calling on the city to look more closely at the data.
“There is a disproportionate number of people of color— African Americans and Latinos who are being detained— where these stops don’t tend to be producing anything in terms of contraband and things like that,” Cordell said.
She said she hopes the city and the department continue with the data collection.
“If indeed there is a problem – and I believe there is – then step up as a city, address whatever the problem is and if it’s bias in policing, which I think is the likely explanation, then let’s do something about it,” she said.
San Jose’s Police Chief Larry Esquivel told the newspaper that the numbers can be deceiving because police tend to focus on high crime areas, which are heavily Latino, in what he says is a relatively safe city.
Cordell is among three former judges who are working with San Francisco prosecutors to review some 3,000 criminal cases potentially tainted by police officers who sent homophobic, racist and sexist text messages.