MSP publishes data showing racial disparities in traffic stops

Michigan News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police have launched a new website where they are publishing data on traffic stops and other arrests.

Broken down by county, race, and other factors, the data shows a continuing increase in the number of traffic stops involving Black drivers since 2017.

In 2019, more than 20% of drivers stopped were Black. That is disproportionately high — Black people make up about 14% of the state’s population.

MSP says the data “merits further review to ensure that department policies and practices are not resulting in the disparate treatment of some motorists.”

It said it would hire a third-party research firm to analyze the data, including providing context with baselines, the locations and reasons for stops, whether the stop included a search and what the end result was.

The agency also said it has a policy that says troopers should not pull someone over simply because of their race.

“The members of the Michigan State Police hold ourselves to the highest standards of professional conduct and we remain committed to performing our jobs with excellence, integrity and courtesy, treating all people with dignity and respect,” Col. Joel Gasper, the head of MSP, said in a statement. “If we find we can improve upon our practices to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all people, you have my commitment that we will make the necessary changes.”

The data can be found on the new Michigan.gov/MSPTransparency webpage. That page also includes information about MSP use of force, policies, training, recruiting and staffing. MSP said a lot of that was already available online, but the new page puts it in one place.

MSP also announced Friday it had had created a citizen advisory council to offer perspective and recommendations on policies. The Bridges BLUE Citizen Advisory Council is made up of 10 members.

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