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Report: Black drivers 85% more likely to be stopped by police in Missouri

A driver shakes hands with a demonstrator during a protest march in New York City after a grand jury declined to prosecute a white police officer for the killing Michael Brown.
A driver shakes hands with a demonstrator during a protest march in New York City after a grand jury declined to prosecute a white police officer for the killing Michael Brown. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Data released by Missouri's Attorney General Josh Hawley showed that black drivers in the Missouri are 85% more likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers — the highest percentage the state has seen in the 18 years it has compiled this data, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The report released Friday shows that racial disparity in traffic stops is at its worst since the state began compiling data in 2000. Following the fatal police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a 2015 Justice Department report said sweeping patterns of racial bias and profiling by police officers is the driving force behind increase revenue in the municipal court system.

The details: The data showed Ferguson’s disparity index was lower than the statewide average even though 88% of the drivers were stopped in Ferguson, reports the AP. Of that amount, 85% arrested were black. Two-thirds of Ferguson’s 21,000 residents are reportedly African-American.

A key finding: University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, who analyzed the data for the attorney general’s office, said the report show that police are becoming more selective in their traffic stops. He said there's been a decline in the total number of stops in recent years, and that most involved confiscation of weapons, drugs and other contraband.

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