In the wake of “Black Lives Matter” and other movements, it’s easy to believe that racial profiling has received so much unwanted and negative scrutiny that police departments would firmly shy away from it. However, that’s hardly the case.
It’s been more than 20 years since New Jersey took measures to end racial profiling by state police. The newest data from NJ Spotlight News, however, which looked at traffic stops from 2018 through 2020 indicates that troopers are far more likely to stop, search and arrest Black and Hispanic drivers than they are white drivers.
The data paints a disturbing picture of racial bias
If you’re white and driving through New Jersey, you’re more than three times as likely to be stopped as a Black driver. If you’re a Black driver, however, getting stopped for a traffic infraction is the least of your worries: You’re far more likely to have your vehicle or person searched and end up in handcuffs.
The picture gets even grimmer when it comes to the use of force. While painted as a “rare” occurrence, officers are twice as likely to use force in traffic stops involving Hispanic drivers and four times as likely to use force against Black motorists.
When Black and Hispanic drivers continue to be targeted by law enforcement, a routine traffic stop can quickly escalate — and not necessarily because a driver was doing anything wrong. Anything from an officer’s perception of “aggression” by a driver to a false positive from a roadside drug test on some unknown (and harmless) substance in a driver’s car can lead to serious criminal charges.
If you’ve been arrested and you suspect that racial profiling has played a role in the charges against you, don’t hesitate to seek experienced legal assistance.