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Black drivers still more likely to be pulled over, report says

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(St. Louis Public Radio photo)
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At a news conference on Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster shows reporters new statistics regarding vehicle stops.

By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – A new report finds that black drivers in Missouri are 70 percent more likely to be pulled over by police than white motorists.

That disparity between blacks and whites has widened in nine of the ten years that the statistics have been compiled. Attorney General Chris Koster says the latest report doesn't mean racial profiling exists but concerned citizens should use the findings to ask questions about their local police.

"When law-abiding African-Americans, law-abiding honest African-Americans tell us that their experiences on Missouri's roadways are different than that of law-abiding honest Caucasian drivers, this data indicates that we should step back and listen to them," Koster said.

Koster says those departments with high disparity rates are required to perform an internal review. He specifically cited the St. Louis County suburb of Ladue as one of the police departments with a high rate for the last five years.

Koster, when asked if municipalities that don't address a pattern of high disparity rates could be sued, said yes.

"A department which is completely blind to these statistical aberrations does leave themselves open to actions in the civil courts," said Koster.

The study also finds that blacks and Hispanics are also much more likely to have their car searched than white drivers.

This is the 10th year that the report on vehicle stops has been compiled by the more than 600 local law enforcement agencies across the state.

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