Black Residents In Ferguson, Missouri, Are Stopped And Arrested Far More Than Whites

But a higher percentage of white residents have contraband, according to a racial profiling report from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen

Protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday.

2. Violence erupted Sunday night in Ferguson, Missouri, a day after police killed an 18-year-old identified by local media as Michael Brown.


Though police have not yet provided details about the killing, witness reports indicated Brown was unarmed. The ensuing chaos Sunday included looting and vandalism. Police responded by deploying SWAT teams, tear gas, and hundreds of officers.

Much of the outrage after Brown’s killing focused on race. The St. Louis area — which includes Ferguson — has a long history of racial tension and strife, and the local president of the NAACP issued a statement after Brown’s killing saying he was “slaughtered” by law enforcement.

3. A racial profiling report from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office offers a glimpse into the way different races are treated by police in Ferguson.


The results seem to show that, at least when it comes to vehicle stops, black residents are disproportionately targeted by police.

4. First, this graph shows that the population of Ferguson is about two-thirds black.

Jim Dalrymple II

The data — which comes from the U.S. Census — also shows that the city is almost one-third white, with small percentages of other races.

5. However, of the 5,384 total traffic stops the Ferguson police made last year, 4,632 involved black residents. Only 686 involved white residents.

Jim Dalrymple II

That means blacks represent 86% of all traffic stops last year. And despite representing nearly a third of Ferguson’s population, whites only made up 12.7% of the stops performed by Ferguson police. The remaining stops involved people of other races.

6. Arrest numbers show a similarly disproportionate focus on black residents.

Jim Dalrymple II

The report reveals that there were 521 arrests in 2013. Of those, 483, or 92.7%, involved blacks. A mere 6.9% involved whites, according to the report.

7. But despite the fact that blacks are both stopped and arrested in larger numbers in Ferguson, whites are actually more likely to have contraband.

Jim Dalrymple II

The contraband hit rate for the general population in Ferguson is 22.59%. The rate for blacks, however, is slightly lower, at 21.71%. That means about one in five blacks who are stopped are caught with contraband.

But whites have a significantly higher contraband hit rate: 34.04%. That means more than one in three whites who are stopped get busted for contraband.

8. The report does not offer explanations for these numbers, but does offer racial breakdowns for things like charges, searches, and other things. Read the full report here.

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