Racial Profiling Statistics

In his book No Equal Justice, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole notes, "The Supreme Court's removal of meaningful Fourth Amendment review allows the police to rely on unparticularized discretion, unsubstantiated hunches, and nonindividualized suspicion. Racial prejudice and stereotypes linking racial minorities to crime rush to fill the void."
Source: Cole, David, No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System (New York: The New Press, 1999), p. 53.

"As of March 2001, 16 of the 49 State police agencies with patrol duties required officers to collect the race or ethnicity of all drivers involved in a traffic stop. Thirty-seven State agencies collected the race or ethnicity of motorists when an arrest was made, and 22 agencies did so following a vehicle or occupant search. Ten State police agencies—Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah—did not require their State troopers to collect race or ethnicity data."
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Traffic Stop Data Collection" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, December 2001), p. 1.

In Maryland, a state survey of police traffic stops—ordered by the state court in response to state troopers' use of racial profiling—found that from January 1995 through December 1997, 70 percent of the drivers stopped on Interstate 95 were African Americans. According to an ACLU survey conducted around that time, only 17.5 percent of the traffic and speeders on that road were African American.
Source: Cole, David, No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System (New York: The New Press, 1999), p. 36.

In his book No Equal Justice, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole notes "A Lexis review of all federal court decisions from January 1, 1990, to August 2, 1995, in which drug-courier profiles were used and the race of the suspect was discernible revealed that of sixty-three such cases, all but three suspects were minorities: thirty-four were black, twenty-five were Hispanic, one was Asian, and three were white."
Source: Cole, David, No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System (New York: The New Press, 1999), p. 50.

“Although members of all races were equally likely to be stopped by the California Highway Patrol between July 1999 and July 2000, Latinos were twice as likely as whites to have their cars or personal possessions searched after being pulled over, the agency's records show. Blacks were 1.5 times more likely to be searched than whites, and Asians were significantly less likely to be searched after being stopped.”
Source: “Racial bias in CHP searches Latinos, blacks more likely to have vehicles examined after being pulled over” San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, July 15, 2001

In Montgomery County, MD in 2001, “Blacks drivers were about three times as likely as whites to be asked if their vehicles could be searched. Of 450 searches, 197, or 43.8 percent, were of black drivers; 150 were of whites; and 78 were Hispanics.”
Source: Phuong, Ly, “Montgomery Traffic Data Show Race Disparity” Washington Post, Friday, November 2, 2001

To learn more about racial profiling, visit the ACLU’s "Racial Profiling in America" and "'Driving While Black' Horror Stories" web pages.