The case that policing in Baltimore is racially biased, in seven charts

From The Washington Post:

The Justice Department’s report alleging unconstitutional and racially biased law enforcement in Baltimore is 163 pages long, but some of the agency’s strongest evidence is summarized in seven charts.

Together these charts not only show that police in Baltimore are more likely to arrest and charge black residents than white residents; the Justice Department also uses the data to rebut several possible explanations for this disparity other than racial discrimination.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Justice Department found, Baltimore police stopped black pedestrians on the street 52 times for every 100 black residents living in the city. Many people were stopped more than once. Baltimore police stopped one black man, described as in his mid-50s, 30 times in four years despite never once being cited or charged, according to the report.

By contrast, police stopped white pedestrians only 18 times for every 100 white residents in the city during the same period.

Like black pedestrians, black drivers were also more likely to be stopped in Baltimore. Although just 60 percent of the city’s driving-age population is black, according to the report, 82 percent of those the police stopped for traffic violations were black drivers.

It could be that Baltimore’s black residents commit more crimes than its white residents, which would account for the disparity in the rates of arrest — but the data on drug charges suggests otherwise.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that similar numbers of African Americans and white Americans use drugs. In 2014, about 12.4 percent of the black population over 12 years old reported using drugs nationwide. The figure for the white population was 10.4 percent.

Nationally, both groups break drug-use laws at similar rates. It is possible that the national figures are not exactly accurate for Baltimore in particular, but the city’s black residents …

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