The numbers show racial profiling isn’t happening among police in California.
The media, on the other hand, says the numbers are fake. And the very people in charge of overseeing the study say the results can’t possibly be real.
Gotta love California, where facts often get in the way of feelings.
Here’s the deal. The state was the first in the nation to track racial profiling complaints against the police. But the board now says the number was so small that the results can’t possibly be right.
The most recent report from the panel contains data from all of 2017. It found that 17 percent of California’s law enforcement agencies didn’t have a single complaint of racial profiling.
In total across the state of nearly 40 million people, there were only 659 profiling complaints filed. And of those, only 10 were sustained.
Three quarters of the complaints were surrounding race or ethnicity. The remainder were over everything from age, gender and religion to physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.
The group overseeing the data runs what’s called the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board. They’re divided over the results and whether changes are needed on the reporting.
AKA someone needs to make police look worse than they are, because the data sure isn’t doing it.
The Sacramento Bee wrote an entire article essentially positioning the numbers as being unrealistic.
They quoted Andrea Guerrero, for example. Andrea is the executive director of the advocacy group Alliance San Diego, and she doesn’t believe the numbers. She said it’s a case of police protecting their own.
“We know we have a profiling problem in the state,” she said.
Her co-chair, Kings County Sheriff David Robinson, argues otherwise, saying the numbers reflect the reality that it’s “so rare and far between that someone is racist.”
Democrats on the committee argue that the data can’t be pure because people can’t anonymously file a complaint that gets counted in the data.
The way it works is that to lodge a formal complaint, you have to use your name, go to the police station and fill out a form. Your complaint can be anything from a false arrest or racially targeted traffic stop to an officer being mean.
The panel, upset about the low numbers, now wants agencies to allow anonymous and third-party complaints to make it easier and to “shield victims”. They also want materials provided in a variety of languages. On top of that, they want civilian oversight panels with “teeth in them” to be able to go after officers.
The Sacramento Bee says some people blame “conservative reporting policies that leave out informal complaints, coupled with ‘complaint fatigue’ by people who are too frightened to complain or believe they’ll be ignored.”
There were just 24 profiling complaints reported for the 7,400 officer strong California Highway Patrol. That’s out of nearly 4 million contacts with the public. Not a single one of those complaints was substantiated.
Board member Warren Stanley, the CHP’s first black commissioner, said it shows the professionalism of the agency’s personnel.
Police Chiefs are represented on the board by Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing, who said he isn’t surprised by the low statewide numbers.
“There are some that may have, or had, a perception that there are more racial or identity profiles being made, but the data that we have doesn’t bear that out,” Swing said.
In Sacramento, there were 18 civilian complaints in 2017. Not a single one alleged racial or identity profiling.
The department counts only formal complaints that under state law could result in an officer being disciplined, and that’s why some are arguing that the data isn’t even close to being accurate. They say it omits informal inquiries.
The Sacramento Bee made sure to quote Betty Williams, president of the NAACP branch in Sacramento. Because what better way to argue that cops are evil racists than to turn to the NAACP?
She said racial profiling is “undersold and underreported in such a shameless fashion.”
Why are the numbers low? According to her, it’s not because cops aren’t profiling. It’s: “so you won’t have stronger policies and procedures and laws in place that will give a little more protection from law enforcement.”
California’s next big report will include stats from the eight largest police agencies in the state on the perceived race, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics of motorists during traffic stops. For some reason, state leaders decided it made sense to force police officers to fill out paperwork with every stop identifying what they think the person they pulled over looks like.
In December of 2018, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stopped deputies from targeting vehicles on Interstate 5. That’s the main West Coast highway between Mexico and Canada and a huge run for drugs and other contraband.
Why can’t they target vehicles anymore? Because feelings trump common sense.
A Los Angeles Times investigation found 69 percent of drivers stopped were Latino and that two-thirds had their vehicles searched, a far higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups. Of course they conveniently left out the number of criminals caught, the actual breakdown of ethnic profiles of the people in the area or the fact that the officers were stopping crimes from being committed.