WBEZ: Study Shows Race a Factor in Illinois Traffic Stops

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 14, 2011.  Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5 FM) reported about the recently released study showing racial disparities among the number of consent searches performed by Illinois State Police troopers in 2010. The research also showed that the number of searches yielding contraband was higher among Caucasian drivers than of drivers of color. The results of the study prompted the ACLU of Illinois to urge Governor Pat Quinn to ban consent searches entirely.

WBEZ spoke to the ACLU of Illinois Senior Staff Counsel Adam Schwartz:

“Given the danger of conscious or unconscious bias being in play, we think that consent searches always will yield a disparate impact against minority motorists. It simply is too subjective a technique to apply,” Schwartz said.

In June of this year, the ACLU of Illinois filed a complaint to the United States Department of Justice. According to Schwartz, the ACLU wants there to be a federal investigation into Illinois State Police practices, and for the US DOJ to issue a ban on the use of consent searches.

Schwartz said the new study confirms the need for such action.

“We think that it’s a technique that can’t be cured or reformed,” he said.

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