Racial Disparity in Policing

There is no question that our nation is currently facing intense issues around race relations. While many people have long been aware of this, the recent deaths of several African Americans at the hands of police officers, has shed light on the issue for others. But just how big of a problem are race relations with law enforcement in Oakland? Information provided by researchers from Stanford, as they assisted the city with the court ordered collection of race information pertaining to police stops, can help to put the matter in perspective.

The report, which was published in a report titled “Data for Change” focused specifically on stops made by Oakland police in 2013 and 2014. In all, thousands of stops were looked into. Among other things, the stops were for:

  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Probable cause
  • Traffic violations
  • Being on probation or parole

The study looked at searches and restraint via handcuffs. The difference between what happened to African Americans as compared to Caucasians is stark.


In total, a much higher number of African Americans (8,096) as compared to Caucasians (1,679) were stopped and then allowed to go. Broken down, only 175-or one in 15-of white people in this group were searched. In comparison, a third of all African Americans-2,874-were subjected to the same treatment.

Restraint Via Handcuffs

It was a similar story where handcuffing is concerned. Of the 8,096 African Americans who were stopped and later released, approximately 27 percent-or 2,190-were handcuffed in the course of the stop. Of the 1,679 Caucasians who were stopped, only 142 were placed in handcuffs.

While the incidents relied upon for these statistics involved situations where the individuals were ultimately released, this is not always the outcome. Sometimes the interactions between citizens and police escalate to involve police brutality. When injuries are the result of police misconduct, it may be possible to recoup damages. Cases of this nature require a special skill set that the legal team at Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer, possesses. To learn more please see their website.

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