By Jaeah Lee
Walter Scott’s death in South Carolina, at the hands of now-fired North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, is one of several instances from the past year when a black man was killed after being pulled over while driving. No one knows exactly how often traffic stops turn deadly, but studies in Arizona, Missouri, Texas, Washington have consistently shown that cops stop and search black drivers at a higher rate than white drivers. Last week, a team of researchers in North Carolina found that traffic stops in Charlotte, the state’s largest city, showed a similar racial disparity—and that the gap has been widening over time.
The researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill analyzed more than 1.3 million traffic stops and searches by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers for a 12-year period beginning in 2002, when the state began requiring police to collect such statistics. In their analysis of the data, collected and made public by the state’s Department of Justice, the researchers found that black drivers, despite making up less than one-third of the city’s driving population, were twice as likely to be subject to traffic stops and searches as whites. Young black men in Charlotte were three times as likely to get pulled over and searched than the city-wide average. Here’s a chart from the Charlotte Observer’s report detailing the findings:
Read More Driving While Black Has Actually Gotten More Dangerous in the Last 15 Years | Mother Jones.
This is something that needs to be brought to everyone’s attention as much as possible and unfortunately it has been at the cost of someone’s life or at the very least the destruction of his car windows, terrorizing his family, physical beatings and the loss of dignity. It seems as though the incidents are increasing, not decreasing. The police will not be able to be retained. The racism has been bred into them too deeply. They will just find more clever ways to accomplish their thirst for the need to inflict pain and prove their power over people. I recently wrote a post at My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison titled Walking While Black I am a white woman with black grandsons so this reality that many people have to live with their entire lives means I can no longer look at this from a distance from the standpoint of it not affecting my life. Black people can’t change this perception. White people have to change their perception and stand up for the dignity of all our citizens and people everywhere.