Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
search  
 
Subscribe   Subscribe   MI on Facebook Find us on Twitter Find us on Instagram      
 
 
   
 
     
 

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: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/20/opinion/op-macdonald20

 

 
PRINTER FRIENDLY
 
LATEST FROM OUR SCHOLARS

The Real Challenge When Police Use Lethal Force
Stephen Eide, 12-15-14

Why Cops Need To Sweat The Small Stuff
Nicole Gelinas, 12-08-14

A Bill To Loosen Police Discipline
E. J. McMahon, 12-08-14

More Subsidies For Big Wind
Robert Bryce, 12-08-14

Bill Slanders His Cops
Heather Mac Donald, 12-07-14

What The Numbers Say On Police Use Of Force
Steven Malanga, 12-04-14

Detroit's Bankruptcy and Its Painful Reforms
Stephen Eide, 12-04-14

The EPA Pours On The Pain With New Ozone Regulations
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 12-03-14

 
 
 

The Manhattan Institute, a 501(c)(3), is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas
that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

Copyright © 2014 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc. All rights reserved.

52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
phone (212) 599-7000 / fax (212) 599-3494