DC’s black community disproportionately targeted by police, report claims

Black people are disproportionately likely to be stopped in almost every police district in the nation’s capital, according to a new report from the ACLU of D.C.

The report, which examined more than 62,600 stops that were made by D.C. police between July and December of 2019, states black people who were stopped were more than six times as likely to undergo a pat-down or search of their person when compared to white people who were stopped.

“The data reveal concerning trends,” the report said, adding that “more research is needed to determine if the disparities identified in this report arise from racial bias.”

According to the report, African Americans composed 72% of the people stopped during that period of time last year, even though they make up 46.5% of the D.C. population. White people made up only 14.1% of the stops, despite composing 37.1% of the District’s population.

When looking at people under the age of 18 who were stopped by police, 88.6% were black.

D.C. police are required to keep extensive records on every stop its officers make due to a law passed by the D.C. Council called the “Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act.”

Of stops that resulted in no warning, ticket or arrest, 86.1% were of African Americans.

“In the context of these stops, 91% of the 4,315 people subjected to a search or pat-down of their property or person were black,” the report states. “That almost certainly means that black people composed the vast majority of individuals subjected to stops or searches despite not violating the law.”

According to the report, just 0.8% of stops led to the seizure of a weapon of any kind, despite claims by D.C. police that stops are crucial to removing guns from the streets.

The report claims American policing must be not only reformed but “reimagined,” pointing to the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last month. The report highlights people who have died in incidents involving police in D.C., including D’Quan Young, Marqueese Alston and Jeffrey Price.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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