OAKLAND (CBS SF) – There’s a new controversy sweeping over the embattled Oakland Police Department.
A research report released by Stanford University on Wednesday has revealed evidence of racial profiling by the troubled department.
The study analyzed traffic stop data from police body cameras that occurred between April 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014. During this period, 28,119 traffic and pedestrian stops were recorded by 510 police officers.
Among the findings:
- When officers report being able to identify the race of the person before stopping them, the person stopped is much more likely to be African American (62 percent) than when officers couldn’t tell the race (48 percent).
- African American men were more likely to be handcuffed during a stop (1 out of 4 times) than whites (1 out of 15 times), excluding arrests.
- African American men were also more likely to be searched (1 in 5 times vs. 1 in 20 times for whites), though officers were no more likely to make a recovery from those searches.
- African American men were more likely to be arrested after a stop by police –1 in every 6 vs. 1 in 14 for white men.
“Racial disparities are real, as this research shows,” said Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, who led the study. “Differences exist in how police officers treated African Americans compared to those of other ethnic groups.”
The officer assigned to help Stanford with the study was then Assistant Chief Paul Figueroa, who was named as the new chief of the department on Wednesday.
Figueroa is the third police chief in six days for the department which is engrossed in a sex scandal.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf fired Interim Chief Ben Fairow and promoted Figueroa to be acting chief on Wednesday. Former police Chief Sean Whent suddenly resigned last Thursday.
The department has been under renewed scrutiny since Whent revealed publicly last month that an internal investigation had been launched into alleged sexual misconduct with a minor by three officers. The investigation was opened based on questions that arose from an Oakland officer’s September suicide.
An 18-year-old woman has alleged in multiple news media interviews that two dozen current and former officers in five cities had sex with her while she walking the streets. The encounters happened in exchange for protection or advance word on planned prostitution stings, and three of the officers had sex with her when she was underage, the woman has said.
Two Oakland officers have resigned, and three others remain on paid leave in the case.
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