Report: Michigan State Police Disproportionately Stopped Black Drivers

In Summary

Researchers found Michigan cops were most likely to stop Black drivers than white drivers. 

A report from the Michigan State Police revealed that troopers unduly stopped Black drivers during traffic stops in 2020, The Associated Press reported.  

The research was completed by Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice and commissioned by the department. The data looked at the population, crash data and stops in the day vs. night and found Black motorists were stopped at a higher rate than white drivers.  

“These findings demand immediate action. The people of Michigan deserve unbiased policing, transparency and accountability,” said the agency’s director, Col. Joe Gasper, according to AP.  

The report also showed that Hispanic drivers were also disproportionately stopped at higher rates than white drivers.  

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To address the disparity, the department introduced a five-point plan, including hiring an expert who could recommend “systemic changes, working with and listening to communities of color and creating a dashboard with dates” so police could “learn about and adjust their own actions.”  

Black drivers made up 22.1% of stops in 2020, according to the report. Hispanic drivers weren’t as likely to get stopped but were more likely to get arrested than other groups.  

“Discrimination involves intent, whereas observed disparities do not speak to whether an officer acted with intent. This report and its findings speak only to the extent of racial or ethnic disparity in MSP’s traffic stops. At the same time, the data do show a meaningful level of disparity that deserves more attention,” Scott Wolfe, a Michigan State associate professor told AP.   

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