Buffalo Council president says racial disparity in police traffic stops does exist
The following excerpts were reprinted from a News 4 Investigates’ article. Read the full piece by Daniel Telvock.
Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen said he is “very familiar” with stories from constituents about racial bias from Buffalo’s traffic enforcement.
“I’ve experienced some things personally,” said the Black council president.
“Anybody who thinks there aren’t any disparities is fooling themselves,” Pridgen said. “I want to be clear: They are fooling themselves.”
News 4 Investigates worked with Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab to analyze the stop receipt data to determine if there are disparities in who gets stopped. We analyzed the data three different ways and found disparities each time.
We analyzed the data in the following ways:
- When receipts in which the race is unknown were removed, Black people were 2.5 times more likely to be stopped by police in Buffalo than white people, despite making up a smaller share of the city’s total population. (Buffalo is 39% white and 35.6% Black.)
- When racial demographic percentages were used to assign race to the receipts that were marked unknown, Black people were two times more likely to get stopped than whites.
- When all the receipts where the race is unknown were instead assumed to be for whites, the disparity remains, with Black people 1.2 times more likely to be stopped than whites.
The findings concerned some in the community.
The Buffalo Police Department has components of racial bias training but lacks a stand-alone racial bias training program “to ensure that their officers are treating everyone equally,” said Anjana Malhotra, senior attorney with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.
“And when they fail to do that, when they bury their heads in the sand and ignore a problem … they are liable for not properly training or supervising their police force for respecting the civil rights, and the right to equal protection of the Black and minority residents of their city,” Malhotra said.
The Buffalo Police Department has disputed News 4 Investigates’ stop-receipt analysis.