Racial profiling on the rise

By Kelsey Gibbs | kgibbs@wcia.com

Published 08/13 2014 06:01PM

Updated 08/14 2014 10:18AM

ILLINOIS --The ACLU says minority drivers are stopped twice as much as others when it comes to routine traffic violations in Illinois. Police often ask to search those cars or trucks. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains why one young man hopes that stops.

"I stay out of trouble."

Victor Mays hasn't been driving too long. He's only 22. But he can count on one hand the number of times he's been stopped by police.

"I probably say five times, but mostly cops pull me over it's either they pulled me over for something different each time and I know the real reason why they pulled me over for."

He says, in a recent stop, he kept getting asked the same thing.

"The cop kept on asking me have I ever had a previous record and I told him no. He said, 'Tell me now because I'm going to find out,' like, why would you insinuate?"

He is not alone. A report from the ACLU says, in Springfield, African-American motorists were nearly four more times likely than white motorists to be consent-searched. And, white motorists were 89 percent more likely than African-Americans to have contraband discovered during those searches.

"Race does not come into play in any enforcement action that we do here at the Springfield Police Department."

Springfield Police Deputy Chief Dennis Arnold says the numbers are correct, but they don't tell the whole story.

"Although the numbers are accurate, I would describe their findings because they don't have the variables that our officers have at the time of the stop."

Arnold says if consent-search is banned, it would be hard to enforce the law.

"No pun intended, but it will definitely handcuff us in our abilities to do what I believe that the citizens of Springfield expect us to do."

The ACLU of Illinois has repeated its call that the Illinois General Assembly ban the practice of consent-searches statewide. The report also shows white drivers are 49 percent more likely than black drivers to have something illegal in their cars and 56 percent more likely when compared to Latinos.

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