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Illinois ACLU Study Claims Racial Profiling in Traffic Stops

Posted on in Traffic Offenses

Illinois ACLU Study Claims Racial Profiling in Traffic StopsBlack and Latino drivers in Illinois are statistically more likely to be pulled over for a traffic stop and subjected to a search, according to a report recently released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. The ACLU looked at results from nearly 6.5 million traffic stops from 2015 to 2017. Illinois law enforcement agencies collect the data as required by the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act, which the state created in 2003 because of concerns about racial profiling. The ACLU said that law enforcement must end its practice of conducting excessive traffic stops and searches in hopes of finding criminal activity.

Statistics

The study cites several pieces of data in claiming that local and state police agencies disproportionately target minority drivers:

  • Police stopped minority drivers at a higher rate than white drivers, and the disparity increased each year from 2015 to 2017;
  • In 2017, minority drivers were 1.5 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers;
  • Black drivers were subjected to consent searches 1.7 times more often than white drivers, and Latino drivers were 1.3 times more likely;
  • Police officers were 1.3 times more likely to find contraband when searching a white driver’s vehicle than when searching the vehicle of a black or Latino driver.

Stops

The ACLU claims that law enforcement agencies have encouraged officers to be aggressive in conducting traffic stops and subsequent searches. The Illinois State Police supposedly instructed troopers to pull drivers over for all traffic violations because it would increase the chance of encountering someone conducting criminal activity. This instruction put into practice means that the troopers may be predisposed to believe that the drivers they pull over are committing other crimes.

Searches

An officer has means of continuing to search for criminal evidence when there is no reason to suspect it. During a stop, an officer can ask the driver to submit to a consent search of the vehicle. Consent is voluntary, but drivers may feel intimidated to consent because of the officer’s image of authority. Aggressive stops and consent searches are judgment calls, and the statistics suggest that officers are more suspicious of minority drivers.

Contact a Crystal Lake Criminal Defense Attorney

A routine traffic stop does not allow a police officer to conduct unwarranted searches or to try to intimidate you. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can contest a criminal charge that was not reached through reasonable suspicion. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source:

https://www.aclu-il.org/sites/default/files/racism_in_the_rear_view_mirror_il_traffic_stops_2015-2017.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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