Critics: Durham police report confirms what they knew

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Critics respond to a report on Durham police traffic stops.

Advocacy groups in Durham spent Friday morning meeting and going over a new report that shows proof of some racial bias in the city's police department.

The study was ordered after claims that black male drivers were disproportionately pulled over by Durham police officers.


The study by the respected Research Triangle Institute showed that over the past five years black drivers were 20 percent more likely to be stopped during daylight hours - presumably when officers could more easily see the color of their skin.


The statistics actually improved - showing less bias in recent years. Civil rights leaders who spoke to reporters Friday said the improvement directly corresponds when they started speaking up and challenging the Durham Police Department about racial profiling.

But, they said the racial profiling goes beyond the scope of the study which only looked at traffic stops. They say they would like to see other areas studied as well.

For the moment, however, they are gratified to see that statistics actually bear out what they have been saying for years.

"Turns out that the people of Durham could do math after all. Turns out that we weren't hallucinating about racial profiling. Turns out that we did have some issues. So we are very thankful for RTI coming in and confirming I guess at a higher level what we already knew both anecdotally and what was documented. But the real question before us as a city is what do we do now that we've had confirmed what we already know?" said Mark Anthony-Middleton with Durham CAN Clergy Caucus.

The group said it will be looking closely at who is picked to be Durham's next police chief. But it said it is also focused on how elected officials use the information in the study.

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