New data released on Wednesday show that black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over last year, the highest rate since the state began compiling data on traffics stops 17 years ago. The annual report by the state attorney general’s office shows an uptick compared to last year-when blacks were 69 percent more likely than whites to be stopped by police-and a historical upward trend since lawmakers first called for annual reports in 2000.
Police treatment of blacks in Missouri fell under heightened scrutiny following the August 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
The recent report by Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office shows blacks were more than five times as likely to be pulled over compared to whites in proportion to the city’s population, which according to 2010 census data is 63 percent black and about 34 percent white. Blacks were nearly 73 times more likely than whites to be pulled over in Ferguson last year in proportion to the state’s racial breakdown, which is about 11 percent black and 83 percent white.
Other statewide findings for Missouri show blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans were more likely to be searched, but contraband was less liable to be found during searches. The report says the higher search rate might be in part attributed to the higher arrest rates among those populations, which lead to searches even if no contraband is suspected.