Study: Race factors into Ill. traffic stops

July 14, 2011 10:00:40 AM PDT
Minority drivers in Illinois are more likely to get traffic tickets than white motorists, according to a study done for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The study is intended to shed light on racial profiling.

The study of all traffic stops in 2010 in the state of Illinois showed white drivers who were stopped got tickets 55 percent of the time while minority drivers who were stopped got tickets 63 percent of the time.

The study was conducted by the University of Illinois' Center for Research in Law and Justice.

A spokesperson for the Illinois State Police says Governor Pat Quinn has asked the state police director to conduct a thorough review of the raw data. That review is ongoing and expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the study supports its claim that minorities are treated unfairly by police when it comes to searching vehicles. The agency filed a complaint in June with the Justice Department requesting an investigation into how state police handle searches.

In 2009, Hispanic drivers were three times more likely than white drivers to undergo consent searches by state police.

The ACLU says this is not a recent issue. The ACLU says, each year, new data is collected and proves their point.

Darius Bell says he feels like he has been racially profiled in the past when driving. The West Loop realtor says he is biracial and has felt like a ticket target, especially in a luxury car.

"I believe the car drew attention to me as the driver and that had something to do with it as well as, 'OK, why is he driving that car? Let me see what he's up to,'" Bell said.

Bell isn't shocked to hear new numbers from the study.

"They are believable. How they make me feel is, honestly, it's no surprise," he said.

"It sounds like there's some judgment that the police officers have in terms of who they give tickets to, regardless of what the radar gun shows," said Edward Valentine.

"It makes me feel kind of sad about it, disappointed because we're really here to contribute to society," said Gwen Fojas.

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