Officer hating news station WCNC desperate to drag their rating out of the cellar stoops to fanning the flames.
A WCNC Charlotte analysis of the police department's traffic stop data since 2019 shows a disparity between the policing of black men and their white counterparts.
Author: Nate Morabito
The most recent traffic stop data show Charlotte-Mecklenburg police continue to stop, search and arrest black men far more often than their white counterparts.
A WCNC Charlotte analysis of CMPD traffic stop records from 2019 through May 2020 found the city's black population remains disproportionately impacted by policing.
"The complaints of activists across the country have a lot of merit," UNC Chapel Hill Political Science Professor Frank Baumgartner said. "They're not making this stuff up."
CMPD records show black men accounted for a third (33%) of all traffic stops, which was much higher than white men (22%). Of the black men stopped, police searched 10% of them compared to just 3% of the white men they pulled over, CMPD's data revealed. In addition, city records show black men made up 62% all people arrested during traffic stops, which was not even close to 18% of white men arrested.
In recent years, Baumgartner found similar disparities in Charlotte and elsewhere.
"It's like a broken record. Every time we look, we find the same thing," he said. "We have to ask ourselves is this pattern of behavior really making our communities safer and is it worth the price? I think the answer is there's got to be a better way."
Baumgartner said his analysis reveals police overuse traffic laws to stop people for minor offenses, which he said becomes a sort of "self-reinforcing prophecy."
"We're kind of making criminals by increasing contacts," he said. "Don't try to use the excuse of a traffic stop to go on a fishing expedition."
CMPD data show the most common reason officers pull over black men is for vehicle regulatory issues like no registration or no license, while the most common reason for white men is speeding.
"It's a waste of public resources and furthermore it alienates members of our community and we're seeing this level of alienation and in some cases hatred of police, because of a feeling of unfairness," Baumgartner said. "If you limit the use of the vehicle code and the traffic code to keeping the road safe, we'll all be better."
Baumgartner sat on a panel alongside Chief Kerr Putney in 2018. At the time, the chief acknowledged the general disparity and said since black members of the community account for most of Charlotte's crime victims, more police resources are dedicated to traditionally black neighborhoods.
"We're trying to figure out the why and then the what next," Chief Putney said during the panel discussion.
Wake Forest University Law Professor Kami Chavis believes the data should prompt action.
"I think this data is incredibly important," she said. "We need to begin to minimize contact between law enforcement officers and minority communities."
In a statement, CMPD said the department has taken steps to minimize random profiling, including requiring officers to report data for every stop, creating a system for people to file racial-profiling complaints, requiring the use and review of body cameras and re-instituting warning citations for equipment and regulatory violations, which allow drivers 30 days to resolve a problem without a ticket or arrest.
"Traffic stops are often are part of a broader crime-fighting strategy in neighborhoods that have a statistically higher victimization rate," Rob Tufano said. "Statistically, violent crime victimization is higher in our African-American communities and frequently the communities that need police response. The department has a responsibility to ensure that community members are safe and that we're doing everything we can to protect them. Community members expect police to enforce quality of life, traffic and crime issues. We owe it to those community members to not only listen, but to understand how they'd like us to serve them."
Charlotte's African American population is around 35% depending on where you look. Yet the crime stats show that across the board crime is profoundly centric to the African American Community. Homicide, Domestic Violence, Property Crimes, and Auto Theft, the majority of offenders are African American and put number whites 6 to 1. The only areas where the numbers are not disparate are DWI, Low Level Drug Charges and Credit Card Fraud.
The African American Community has continued to embrace a culture of violence, criminality and gun play. Despite the toll on African American families and costs of incarceration we have not sufficiently addressed this problem because we are afraid of offending people of color. Any suggestion that Black on Black violence is a bigger issue than police misconduct is always met with calls of racism.
Never mind that all offenders in Mecklenburg County charged with murder this year are African American, never mind the 18 people were murdered in Chicago on Sunday every one African American.
Never mind that people of all colors who willfully violate traffic laws regarding "regulatory issues" (License, Insurance, Inspections, and Plates) are often breaking other laws are well.
Fact if you're "ridin dirty" in a stolen car you deserve to go to jail for being stupid. If you have a bag of meth crack or cocaine and your DL is suspended or you have an expired plate you deserve to be arrested.