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Texas Lawmakers Investigate Racial Disparities In Traffic Stops

State Representative Garnet Coleman says black drivers are more likely to be issued citations and be subject to certain searches after being stopped.

State Representative Garnet Coleman says black drivers are more likely to be issued citations and be subject to certain searches after being stopped. The democrat from Houston cites three years of data from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“The percentage of search of people stopped that are Black is higher,” Coleman says. “That’s how statistics are done.”

But Texas DPS director Steven McCraw disagrees with Coleman’s calculations. He says when you look at the overall number of stops, white motorists account for a majority of searches.

“Obviously someone used the wrong calculator because the searches of black drivers, that percentage is not greater than white drivers,” McCraw says.

But Coleman maintains that once a stop is made, and a motorists’ race becomes clear, blacks are more likely to be searched. He’s working with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to crunch the numbers, and he plans to hold more hearings early next year. 

 

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Tomeka Weatherspoon

Senior Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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