Traffic Stop Quotas Create Racial Profiling Hazard

August 24, 2016

After a state trooper complained to the department of civil rights, the Michigan State Police issued a public statement in March 2016 admitting that troopers are evaluated in part on whether they make at least 70 percent of the collective average number of traffic stops made at the post to which they are assigned.  After discussing the matter with police officials to learn more about the practice, the ACLU of Michigan wrote to the director of the Michigan State Police in August 2016 urging that this policy be terminated because of the risk that it would lead to racial profiling.  Because of the policy, troopers with an insufficient number of stops facing imminent evaluation are more likely to target for groundless or arbitrary stops individuals whom they perceive to be powerless to effectively complain, which disproportionately includes people of color.  Additionally, we inquired about whether troopers record the racial identities of drivers stopped, and whether there are procedures in place to monitor racial patterns of stops and to remedy practices that are racially discriminatory.  We are awaiting a response from police officials. 

(ACLU Attorney Mark Fancher.)

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