ANNUAL REPORT OVERVIEW
A new state law, Section
590.650 RSMo (2000), puts Missouri on the forefront
in addressing the issue of racial profiling, which is
defined as the inappropriate targeting of drivers by their
race. This law requires each law enforcement agency in
the state to record data concerning the race of every
driver involved in a traffic stop, search or arrest. That
information is submitted to the Attorney General's Office
on an annual basis, then compiled in a report that is
presented to the Governor and the General Assembly by
2000 Annual Report on Missouri traffic stops includes
information from 634 law enforcement agencies reporting
information on 453,189 stops from Aug. 28 (when the law
took effect) through Dec. 31. The statewide data indicate
that African Americans were stopped at a rate 27 percent
higher than expected based solely on their proportion
of the population, and when compared with whites, African
American drivers were stopped at a rate 30 percent higher
than whites. The numbers were compared using a standard
of measure called the Disparity Index.
"The information does nothing to disprove the perception
of racial profiling," Attorney General Jay Nixon
said. "Anecdotal information, combined with levels
of disproportion in the data, leads me to believe that
African Americans and Hispanics have, in certain instances,
been the target of racial profiling in Missouri."
Nixon also noted, however, that he could not make that
same judgment for any specific city.
"Disproportion in the numbers does not necessarily
reflect racial profiling," Nixon said. "There
are numerous extenuating circumstances that affect disproportion.
Each law enforcement agency must use the data to determine
its context locally and as a means of opening dialog on
this important issue."
About the law and report
Analysis by Attorney General Nixon