Around 5 years ago, CAIR-CA advocated for AB 953 – Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA), which requires all state and local agencies to report stop data to the California Department of Justice. This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive stop data collection to date! The information collected under RIPA includes data on police officers’ perceptions of the demographics of stopped individuals.
The purpose of collecting information on officer perceptions is to attempt to systematically document and analyze stops and searches to determine whether disparities can be found across demographic groups. The perceived demographic information collected includes a wide range of characteristics such as race or ethnicity, gender, age, disability status, English fluency, and LGBT identity.
Some of the key findings from the 2020 round of data collection and the second full year of RIPA data include:
1. People who were perceived as Black were searched at 2.4 times the rate of people perceived as White.
Overall, officers searched 18,777 more people perceived as Black than those perceived as White. In addition, transgender women were searched at 2.5 times the rate of individuals perceived to be cisgender women.
2. A higher rate of those stopped who were perceived as Black were not actually engaged in unlawful activity.
At the conclusion of a stop, officers must report the outcome, e.g., no action taken, warning or citation given, or arrest. For individuals perceived as Black, officers reported “no action taken” 2.3 times as often as they did for individuals perceived as White.
3. Officers used force against people perceived as Black at 2.6 times the rate of individuals perceived as White.
In addition, officers used force against individuals perceived to have a mental health disability at 5.2 times the rate of individuals perceived not to have a disability.
4. A higher proportion of traffic violation stops of people perceived as Hispanic or Black were for non-moving or equipment violations as compared to individuals who were perceived as White.
For instance, the proportion of such stops initiated for window obstruction violations was nearly 2.5 times higher for people perceived as Hispanic and 1.9 times higher for people perceived as Black as compared to people perceived as White.
5. People who were perceived as Black were overrepresented in the stop data by 10 percentage points.
People perceived as White or Asian were underrepresented by three and nine percentage points, respectively, as compared to weighted residential population estimates.
In a statement, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Managing Attorney Amr Shabaik said:
“The data collected from the Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) supports what advocates for people of color have continuously asserted: Law enforcement disproportionately targets and uses force against those who are perceived as Black.
“The implementation of RIPA is a step in the right direction towards eradicating institutional racism from law enforcement agencies. We hope that the information collected serves as another catalyst for deep and meaningful reforms of police departments throughout the state.”
A copy of the report is available here. A fact sheet on the report is available here. A pullout of the recommendations and best practices is available here. The report appendices are available here. More information about the Board is available here.