Over the last few years, turmoil was erupted in the United States over the deaths of various unarmed African Americans who died at the hands of police. Ferguson, Tulsa, Baltimore and multiple other cities across the country has sparked a national debate over how much racial bias skews law enforcement behavior, even subconsciously. Although not all police encounters turn violent, it is sure to say that race has increasingly become a deciding factor in how officers will treat members of the community.
Routine traffic stops more frequently led to searches, arrests and the opening of a trapdoor into the criminal justice system that can have a lifelong impact, especially for those who lack economic or social resources in order to protect or defend themselves from racial discrimination and prejudice.
Empirical evidence confirms the existence of racial profiling on America’s roadways. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that for the year 2005, the most recent data available, “police actions taken during a traffic stop were not uniform across racial and ethnic categories.” “Black drivers (4.5%) were twice as likely as White drivers (2.1%) to be arrested during a traffic stop. By analyzing data from 4.5 million traffic stops in 100 North Carolina cities, Stanford researchers have found that police in that state are more likely to search black and Hispanic motorists, using a lower threshold of suspicion, than when they stop white or Asian drivers.
According to findings by a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year, young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015.
Police brutality against blacks started being in the media more following the shooting of Michael Brown, by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, 2014. This resulted in nationwide protests against the tendency of law enforcement to be overly aggressive when dealing with black men. This is how the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction. Through this movement, it has been shown that police are arresting and killing black men at a much higher rate than any other racial groups.
Overall in 2015, black people were killed at twice the rate of white, Hispanic and native Americans. About 25% of the African Americans killed were unarmed, compared with 17% of white people. This disparity has narrowed since the database was first published on 1 June, at which point black people killed were found to be twice as likely to not have a weapon.
Law enforcement was only charged with 18 crimes of 2015’s deadly incidents – 10 shootings, four deadly vehicle crashes and four deaths in custody.
Minority groups are much more likely to be arrested, shot and killed by police than other racial groups. Racial profiling is a large problem in law enforcement because there are biases and stereotypes towards black males. Police officers are often quicker to shoot an unarmed black man than an unarmed white man due to embedded cultural stereotypes. It is clear that African Americans are victimized by police in the United States more than any other ethnic group of citizens.