Coalition for Fair Policing Calls for the Passage of the 4th Amendment Affirmation Act in Response to Release of Vehicle Stops Report by AG

To combat the racial disparities, the Coalition is calling not only for an end to racialized policing but also for the passage of the Fourth Amendment Affirmation Act to move beyond data collection to consequences for officers who engage in racial profiling.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — On Friday, May 29, 2020, Attorney General Eric Schmitt released the annual Vehicle Stops Report. For the twentieth year in a row, the Missouri Attorney General’s office has released a report that shows black communities, and people of color are disproportionately stopped and searched by law enforcement. The 2019 report shows a rise in disparities in black drivers being stopped from 91% to a high of 95%.

Once stopped, a driver’s race is also likely to influence the decisions the officer makes as they conduct the business of the stop. The American Civil Liberties Union released a new report this year that showed Black people are 2.6 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Missouri, despite comparable national marijuana usage rates. They are 36% more likely to be arrested.

As a nation, we once again see the danger that racism carried out by the hands of law enforcement has on black Americans with the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. If we continue to ignore the calls for accountability, equal justice, and a complete overhaul of how Missouri’s law enforcement conducts itself while interacting with minorities, the state must remain under the NAACP Travel Advisory issued in 2017.

To combat the racial disparities, the Coalition is calling not only for an end to racialized policing but also for the passage of the Fourth Amendment Affirmation Act to move beyond data collection to consequences for officers who engage in racial profiling.

“It is unfathomable that black and other racial minorities continue to be stopped, searched, and arrested at a higher rate than white drivers in Missouri when we make up such a small portion of the citizens in this state. The Ethical Society of Police supports the Fourth Amendment Affirmation Act. The predatory state of some law enforcement officers and police departments in Missouri warrants this critical change.” SGT Heather Taylor, President of the Ethical Society of Police

“This past week has been especially painful for Black Americans. The pain erupting in American streets is a reminder that anti-Black practices of law enforcement have deadly consequences. It is a moral crisis. We don’t need any more reports, we need accountability and justice.” Dr. Cassandra Gould Executive Director Missouri Faith Voices 

“The Missouri vehicle stops report for the last year demonstrates a complete lack of commitment by many major police departments and small towns alike to the American values of due process, equality, and justice. Until local communities press for change, blacks and others will be disproportionately stopped while traveling the roads in Missouri. The Missouri travel advisory is still in effect.” Nimrod Chapel, Jr., President of the Missouri Conference of NAACP

After seeing the VSR report, this only shows how systematic racism continues to live and breathe and affect communities of color. I’m not surprised at the report. I would say most people of color would not be surprised however, I am surprised that after 2014 that these law enforcement departments have not made concrete changes when it comes to over-policing people of color. This report is a huge indication of why there is such a lack of trust between the African-American community and our law-enforcement agencies. This is completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed, fixed and revamped.” Rasheen Aldridge State Representative 78th District

“Week by week, events unfold that remind us that there can be no peace where there is no justice,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford, Executive Director of Empower Missouri. “It is time for Missouri to do more than measure racial disparities in policing; we must add strong accountability measures to our statutes and demand improvement.”

“It is long past time to pass the Fourth Amendment Affirmation Act, for the twentieth year in a row we have seen no progress from law enforcement in ending racially biased policing. We get data every single year indicating there is a problem and then we promptly ignore its implications. Missouri has a problem with racial profiling. There is no escaping that reality and we must address it with solutions not simply reporting. The Missouri legislature can help by prioritizing and enacting legislation that holds our officers accountable and prohibits discriminatory policing.”  Sara Baker Policy Director ACLU of Missouri

“The historically high disparity in stops, and especially in searches, is very disturbing. Police may not know the race/ethnicity of drivers before some vehicle stops, but they cannot deny being aware of it after face-to-face contact following a stop.” Dan Viets, Attorney, and President of the Mid-Mo Civil Liberties Association

“Twenty years of Annual Vehicle Stop Reports has shown increases in disproportions and disparities of black motorists stopped in Missouri.  It is evident that the limited transparency and accountability offered by MO Rev Statute 590.650 in terms of Vehicle Stop Reports has been insufficient to erase the disparities of police stops and searches over the years. It is past time to create an “open data” philosophy toward criminal justice and police accountability data, specifically the release of all vehicle stop data used to generate the departmental reports plus additional data to better understand police practices.” Phillip Weeks Grass Roots Accountability Movement (GRAM)

“Stops in Ferguson show that Blacks are four and a half times more likely to be stopped than whites. Our analysis of the data shows that this indefensible disparity cannot be explained away by any of the normal rationales or by flaws in the data gathered. There is no other explanation than racial bias, either individual or institutional.” John Chasnoff Co-Chair of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression

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Note: A recording of our June 1, 1 p.m. media conference via Zoom may be found at this link

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