ARIZONA NEWS

Study finds racial bias in Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office traffic stops

Jun 18, 2018, 10:40 AM | Updated: Jun 21, 2018, 1:55 pm

(Facebook photo)...

(Facebook photo)

(Facebook photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona State University study for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office indicated there may be some racial bias in traffic stops.

A ratio was used in the study to determine if officers stopped drivers of different ethnicity at a disproportionate rate to the average officer in the district.

The study found that more than 23 percent of deputies give citations to Hispanic drivers twice as often as peers within their district.

Additionally, about 37.3 percent of deputies gave citations to African-American drivers more than twice as often as other officers in their district.

About 5 percent of deputies gave citations to white drivers at this rate.

In a statement, MCSO acknowledged some racial bias.

“There is still a disparity in post-stop outcomes between races/ethnicities, including Latinos, as well as some inconsistent behavioral patterns by some deputies,” it said.

However, it also said the data can’t determine individual police bias based alone; further context is necessary in the background of specific stops.

“The report provides information regarding practices by deputies beyond that of their peer group, without the information necessary to establish the intent or unique factors leading to the pattern of practice,” the statement said.

“It is then incumbent on MCSO to objectively further the inquiry.”

White drivers were given 65.3 percent of all citations in 2017. Hispanics received 23.6 percent and African-American drivers received 7.7 percent.

With that said, about 4,000 fewer citations were given out in 2017 than 2016. Hispanics received 925 fewer citations, African-American drivers 333 fewer and white drivers were cited 2,685 fewer times.

The ratios are similar between years: in 2016, white drivers received 65.1 percent of citations, Hispanics 23.3 percent and African-Americans 7.8 percent.

Additionally, the average length of stop dramatically decreased over the last two years.

In 2016, the average stop for a white driver lasted 18.92 minutes. Stops involving a Hispanic driver lasted 21.97 on average, and those with African-American drivers lasted an average of 23.89 minutes.

In 2017, that decreased to 12.78 for white drivers, 15.87 for Hispanics and 16.134 for black drivers.

“Sheriff Penzone takes seriously the findings in this report that MCSO’s traffic enforcement activity has led to different outcomes for different racial/ethnic groups,” the statement said.

“Yet, it would be inaccurate and unfair for anyone to classify an entire organization based on a review of behaviors by only some of its members.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A Phoenix Fire Department ladder company investigates a car in a canal...

KTAR.com

Car with nobody inside found partially submerged in Grand Canal in Phoenix

An empty car was found partially submerged in the Grand Canal in Phoenix on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

16 minutes ago

File photo showing the side of a Phoenix police department SUV stopped in front of a wall on the si...

KTAR.com

Police seek help with homicide investigation after body found in Phoenix apartment

Police are seeking the public’s help with a homicide case after a man was found dead Monday at a Phoenix apartment complex.

2 hours ago

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)...

Danny Shapiro

East Valley teen beaten by brass knuckles says halt on possible weapon ban ‘disheartening’

An East Valley teen who was beaten in a 2022 brass knuckles attack and has pushed for a ban on the weapon in Arizona said he was told the Legislature won't take any action on it this session.

4 hours ago

Follow @iamdamonallred...

Damon Allred

Arizona Science Center’s Dorrance Planetarium to see ‘next-generation’ update

With the help of Cosm Technology, the Arizona Science Center is making a significant investment in its Dorrance Planetarium.

4 hours ago

Latin Music Festival will take place in Tolleson this weekend...

Serena O'Sullivan

Latin Music Festival to bring music, dances, games and food to Tolleson this weekend

The Latin Music Festival will fill Tolleson's streets with live music, dances, games, food and vendor booths this weekend.

4 hours ago

What Arizonans should know when traveling this spring break...

Serena O'Sullivan

Here’s what Arizonans should know when traveling this spring break

Arizonans who plan to hit the skies or book a cruise this spring break should prepare for a busy travel season, an AAA spokesperson said.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Study finds racial bias in Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office traffic stops