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Report shows MCSO displaying signs of racial bias during traffic stops

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office continues to display signs of racial bias during traffic stops, according to a recent report.

CNA, a Virginia-based not-for-profit research organization, produced a 40-page report with analysis of 23,630 traffic stops conducted by MCSO deputies between January and December of 2019.

The report’s release was in accordance with the MCSO’s continued court-mandated supervision following racial profiling that occurred under former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“This ongoing research will establish a foundation for this organization’s culture of recruitment, hiring, training, supervision and discipline to ensure we are worthy of the privilege of authority,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said during a press conference.

“We have seen improvement in areas as well as areas of increased concern.”

Part of the report’s analysis detailed traffic stop characteristics, their outcomes and how those factors changed based on drivers of different races.

The report’s findings showcased that traffic stops involving Black or Hispanic drivers were likely to take longer than those involving White drivers.

Traffic stops were also less likely to result in an arrest or citation for White drivers as compared to Hispanic drivers. Comparisons between White and Black drivers showed no such discrepancy.

Race also did not appear to be a factor regarding the likelihood of a search resulting in the seizure of property.

“The MCSO and CNA’s analysis team conclude that there is evidence of disparate outcomes by driver race in traffic stops,” the report stated.

“This finding is consistent with past studies … As a result of these analyses, MSCO will take reasonable steps to investigate and monitor this situation and, where necessary, shall implement interventions.”

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