Racial profiling still continues today, For example, New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk policies allow cops to stop and frisk individuals who are deemed “suspicious.” Police people overwhelmingly stop (and routinely harass) people of color during these stops, yet 87-89% of the stops uncover no evidence of wrong-doing.
Though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates, Black and Latino males are three times more likely than white males to have their cars stopped and searched for drugs – even though white males are four-and-a-half times more likely to actually have drugs on them when they are stopped. Researchers also recently found that when police officers are presented photos of black and white men holding either a gun or a non-threatening object in a video game style setting, police are more likely to hesitate at shooting armed white men. Racial discrimination in jury selection also remains widespread as well as racial bias in presidential pardons and racial bias in the effects of a criminal record on one’s ability to be hired.
When individuals commit the same crime, there are still large disparities in the sentences white offenders receive compared to black offenders. And, though African-Americans make up half of homicide victims, the majority of death row defendants have been executed for killing white victims. (See infographic for more information.) These findings are not new.
These and other biases result in starkly different post-high-school pathways for men of color in particular, are one of a variety of reasons that many non-whites distrust police. This costly and racially discriminatory system is also fraught with the potential for other forms of human error.
More on the history of race and the criminal justice system here.