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Portland Police Officers Are Pulling Over Disproportionate Numbers of Black and Latino Drivers

Portland Police Officers Are Pulling Over Disproportionate Numbers of Black and Latino Drivers

In an effort to track racial profiling among Portland police officers, the Portland Police Bureau has been tracking numbers of motorists pulled over based on race and ethnicity. The data reflects disproportionate numbers of Black and Latino drivers being subjected to unwanted attention by law enforcement

During 2020, a much higher percentage of Black and Latino Oregonians were pulled over by traffic officers more than white drivers on city streets.

Due to the pandemic, a stark decline of drivers meant fewer road arrests as a whole during 2020, compared to 2019 and years before. However, Black residents, who made up about 8% of the city’s population, accounted for nearly 12.6% of those traffic stops, while Latino residents made up for 11.2%. Nearly 28% of citizens accounted in total were a mix of Black and Latino individuals being stopped on Portland streets.

This recent data leads many to believe these were racially targeted stops. For the past several years, Portland police have significantly pulled people of color over more than white drivers. Despite not every stopped driver being specifically from Oregon, statistics prove that there may be some initial bias within the police force.

The Black Lives Matter protests pushed the Portland Police Bureau to take action and reduce instances of racism and oppression towards the citizens they are sworn to protect. These changes have been applied to different positions within the police force, and in this case, officers have taken steps to improve the stop rate issue. Officers have been instructed by law to set their focus on traffic enforcement that could put other motorists in serious danger, instead of focusing on low-level infractions, expired plates, and other relatively trivial instances in which officers would likely pull people of color over for.

There are still undeniable instances of racism that the police force tries to keep hidden, however it is commendable that the voices of the oppressed are being listened to, acknowledged, and progress within Oregon is finally taking place on a grander scale. Instead of racism being swept under the rug, it’s important that it is being acknowledged and remedied.

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