St. Louis Public Radio News
10:23 am
Mon June 7, 2010

African American group threatens to sue Ladue

St. Louis, MO – An African American group says it may file a federal lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb of Ladue following a recent report on traffic stops.

Last week, Attorney General Chris Koster released statistics showing African-Americans are 70 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites in Missouri. In Ladue, Koster said blacks are 1,700 percent more likely to be stopped.

Local activist Michael Moore with the group Citizens Against Racial Profiling says the attorney general's study confirms what blacks in the St. Louis area have known for some time.

"We've been saying it for years, we've been pulled over for the color of our skin," said Moore. "And to have the attorney general come out and say 'Look, this is ridiculous. This is concerning' just speaks to you know we were telling the truth."

But Ladue Police Chief Rich Wooten says the figures are misleading because they are based on the number of black residents in Ladue, which is about 1 percent. Wooten says the racial makeup of people driving through the town is much more diverse.

"We have interstate 64, we have interstate 170, we have Clayton Road, Ladue Road, which run through our city, and therefore we can't use our population numbers," said Wooten. "We have to use a regional number."

Meanwhile, Ladue's former police chief, Larry White,has filed a lawsuit of his own. He claims city leaders fired him because he refused to target black drivers in traffic stops.