The Journal Star editorial board ("Racial disparity in traffic stops shows change is needed," Aug. 14) would have you believe a police officer’s radar can determine a driver's race or ethnicity. Those must be some fancy radar guns.
When police officers stand on the curb and aim the radar at a vehicle a block away, how can they know who is driving? Obviously, they cannot.
Could it be, perhaps, that a demographic disparity exists among driving ability? If 11% of last year’s traffic stops happened to black people, could it be that black drivers were committing more driving offenses than the general population?
How do we know that black drivers commit equal or fewer driving infractions than other demographics? What if they commit more infractions but are being disproportionally not being pulled over? If this is the case, that demographic should be thankful!
If more blacks than whites commit infractions such as headlight violations, but generally drive older and less reliable vehicles, why is it the fault of the police officer for simply doing his job? When an officer sees a car with a burned out headlight a block away, how can he or she determine the race of the driver when they make the traffic stop?
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The obvious fallacy here is assuming all demographics commit driving infractions at an identical rate. Is the Journal Star saying officers should ignore legitimate driving infractions, simply to make the ACLU feel good, and therefore foster a less safe driving population? Apparently so.
Asian and Pacific Islanders account for 3.1% of traffic stops, but they are 4.7% of the population. Similarly for Hispanics, at 7.3% of the population, they account for 6.6% of traffic stops.
Therefore, according to the editorial board and ACLU’s premise, police officers should pull them over at a higher rate. Hop to it, LPD!
Andy Ringsmuth, Lincoln