Tag Archives: Traffic Stops

OPINION: It’s Time to Put an End to Racially Disparate Police Stops and Searches

by Angélica Cházaro and Anita Khandelwal


Once again, a report has revealed alarming racial disparities in the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) treatment of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC). The Center for Policing Equity, in a study completed earlier this year, found that Black pedestrians are five times — and Native pedestrians nine times — more likely to be stopped by SPD than white pedestrians. Moreover, BIPOC pedestrians are significantly more likely to be searched than their white counterparts, despite being statistically less likely to carry weapons. While SPD’s data did not allow for analysis of traffic stops, given the pervasiveness of such racial disparities it seems likely that similar ratios would hold for those as well.

Fortunately, the Seattle City Council and King County Council have the power to immediately reduce these harms by adopting two simple pieces of legislation — one that would deprioritize any traffic stops where the driver does not pose an imminent danger of physical harm to others and another that would ban consent searches.

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