Black people in California disproportionately accounted for traffic stops in California in 2022, with the demographic’s population being 13% of all traffic stops, even though Black people make up 5% of the state’s population. The annual report from California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board included for the first time data from all law enforcement agencies in the state, the Associated Press reports. The “scale of data that California is collecting allows us to say definitively that profiling exists — it is a pervasive pattern across the state," said Andrea Guerrero, co-chairperson of the board and executive director of Alliance San Diego.
Because officers' perceptions drive bias, the report includes what officers perceived to be the race, ethnicity, gender and disability status of people they stopped so that the state can better identify and analyze bias in policing. Police reported that Hispanic or Latino people made up nearly 43% of the 2002 traffic stops, while being only 32% of the state’s population. White people accounted for more than 32% of traffic stops even though they are 35.8% of the state’s population. During the 2022 traffic stops, motorists and pedestrians perceived to be Native American were searched and handcuffed at the highest rates, while Black people were more likely to be detained curbside or in a patrol car. The advisory board’s recommendations include ending all stops in which officers use a minor traffic offense to investigate a driver for contraband or other crimes, as well as limiting the role of police in traffic law enforcement.