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Toledo Free Express


Profiling Allegations Off-Target

October 19, 2005

By Heather Mac Donald

The violence against Toledo police officers on Saturday manifests the anti-cop sentiment that became trendy in the 1960s and has been kept alive during the last decade by the myth of "racial profiling." Anti-cop activists have churned out study after study purporting to show police bias.

None of the studies produced to date would earn an F in a freshman statistics course, but a recent effort by The Blade doesn’t even pass the laugh test. Summarizing the analysis in its Sept. 25 Page 1 story, "Minorities targeted, records suggest," The Blade concludes minorities have been "targeted" for drug arrests by the Ohio Highway Patrol. This conclusion is wildly unfounded and can serve only to discredit vital and legitimate policing.

It is exceedingly difficult to tell how The Blade’s study was constructed. It appears the paper analyzed about 100 drug arrests by the Ohio Highway Patrol from 2002 to 2004, though whether these 100 are a subset of a larger number of arrests is impossible to discern. As for the results, the paper discloses only that in 2004, 26 arrested suspects were Hispanic, six were black, and one was white, and that during the three-year period, 15 whites were arrested for drug trafficking. On this basis alone, the paper leaps to the conclusion that minorities have been "disproportionate[ly]" arrested for narcotics offenses on Ohio roads.

But the question raised by all such claims must always be: "disproportionate" compared to what? The Blade doesn’t even begin to offer a benchmark against which to measure the arrest numbers. Here is the only relevant measure: The proportion of different racial groups actually transporting large quantities of narcotics on the Ohio highways. If minorities dominate that trade, a higher arrest rate for them represents good policing, not bias.

Every piece of evidence complied by federal and local law enforcement confirms minorities dominate the drug trade. In Hollywood, for example, street dealers are virtually all illegal Mexicans, who have been smuggled across the border by the 18th St. Gang and who are working off their smuggling debt by selling drugs for the gang. As gangs spread across the country, Hispanic drug couriers have followed in their wake, as the experience of the Illinois Highway Patrol in apprehending drug mules attests.

Once a trooper makes a stop, he has plenty of non-racial cues for determining whether someone may be transporting drugs: Are the vehicle’s occupants nervous? Do they each have different stories about why they are on the road? Do scratch or welding marks suggest that the vehicle’s compartments have been turned into drug traps? Troopers take all such cues into consideration in deciding whether to search a car.

The Blade’s insinuation of racial bias is particularly ludicrous, given that whites make up the overwhelming proportion of stops and searches on Ohio highways—89 percent of all traffic stops in the first six months of 2005 and 70 percent of all searches (according to Ohio Highway Patrol statistics referenced by Bob Frantz in his Oct. 5 Toledo Free Press column).

If Ohio’s troopers were acting out of racial animus, they would be pulling over minorities at rates vastly disproportionate to their representation in the driving population and to their rate of traffic infractions. They are not. The full picture of Ohio’s traffic stops should put the "driving while black and brown" conceit to rest. Unfounded allegations of racial bias lead officers to back off of sound policing. The victims of such police hesitation are the countless law-abiding residents of inner city neighborhoods who deserve to live without fear of drug trafficking and violence.

Original Source:



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