State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) and Representative Shamed Dogan (R-St. Louis) say a statewide vehicle stops report is an example of why their legislation to ensure unbiased policing is needed. The annual report released by the Missouri Attorney General’s office says black drivers were 69% more likely than white drivers to be pulled over last year. It also says black and Hispanic drivers are arrested and searched at rates significantly higher than white drivers, though white drivers are more frequently found to have weapons and drugs.
Chappelle-Nadal says the racial environment is causing some to leave Missouri.
“At some point in, if we are losing all of our talent because of the environment that says you’re not welcomed here because you’re a person of color, that is going to hurt the state,” said Chappelle-Nadal. “I want us to thrive, but the way that we do that is by having a diverse population. If we get the brightest and they so happen to be of color, then they need to be respect.”
Dogan says the report shows inequalities among all people.
“One of the curious things was that you saw the city of Pine Lawn, which the vast majority is African-American, had a similar disparity index where whites are stopped a lot more often than you would expect,” said Dogan.
Dogan says recruiting of minority police officers must continue.
“A lot of the more talented officers end up with the biggest agencies, so it’s harder for some of the municipalities where there are larger black populations, it’s harder to find a lot of minority officers there,” said Dogan.
Dogan’s legislation offered during this year’s session would have expanded police reporting requirements, require training on biased policing and hold agencies and officers accountable for biased policing. The measure didn’t make it out of a House committee, nor did the Senate version sponsored by Senator Jamillah Nasheed (D-St. Louis). A similar measure offered by Chappelle-Nadal also died in a Senate committee.
To view the 2015 report in its entirety, along with the data reported by Missouri’s law-enforcement agencies, click here: http://ago.mo.gov/home/vehicle-stops-report.