One group is reacting after their study uncovered a disparity.
The Urbana Traffic Stop Task Force has been working on a report for a year. Now the numbers are in: It says that minorities are more likely to be stopped by police in Urbana.
The report definitely shows that in Urbana, whites aren't as likely to get pulled over, but why that's happening isn't clear yet, and it's just one of the things the task force now has to investigate.
Concern from the public started a conversation that Urbana's police could be unfairly targeting minorities for traffic stops. The city assembled a task force to gather data and figure out what was really going on.
"It was created in response to public testimony," said Urbana city council member Eric Jakobsson.
"The edict of why we were there, why we came together as a task force, and what the community of Urbana wanted us to do," said Champaign city council member Will Kyles.
A year later, the results are in. According to the data, minorities are more likely to be pulled over than whites. Numbers from 2004 through 2013 measure their increased odds to be between 7% and 70%. The report says minorities are also more likely to be stopped multiple times, and charged with multiple offenses.
"How often does a stop lead to an arrest for some other offense than a traffic offense?" asked Jakobsson.
The task force says their biggest concern is whether the disparity in stops is due to racial profiling. This report didn't answer that, but it gave the task force a place to start.
"It should make for good results in the future," said Kyles.
"We've consulted as broadly as we knew how to do, but we haven't touched all the bases," said Jakobsson.
The results were presented to the city council with a list of recommendations. Now they say it's time for the public's opinion. It's only the beginning of a project the task force says they knew they would have to tackle.
"We gotta get the community's support, get the community's feedback and see what they thought of the report," said Kyles.
In the next few weeks, the city council will be taking input from the public and looking at the economic impact of the disparity.
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