New Report Shows Racial Bias Persists in Police Stops and Frisks

Following last week’s report on the frequency of unconstitutional stops and frisks by the Philadelphia Police Department, counsel for plaintiffs in Bailey v. City of Philadelphia released a report today demonstrating that racial disparities continue to plague those stop and frisk practices.

In every neighborhood in Philadelphia, Black pedestrians were stopped by police officers at a rate higher than their percentage of the local population, according to the report. The analysis controls for alternative, non-racial factors and nonetheless concludes that Black and Latinx Philadelphians are significantly more likely to be the subject of a pedestrian stop—and, once stopped, more likely to be frisked—than white Philadelphians.

The report flags several areas of the city where racial disparities in stops are particularly noticeable. In police service area (PSA) 91 in Center City, west of Broad Street, 60 percent of the stops were of Black pedestrians, in an area where the population is only five percent Black. In PSA 12 in South Philadelphia, the Black population is three percent but Black pedestrians accounted for 58 percent of stops.

The City must respond to the Report in one month. At that point, the Court will decide what action is appropriate to secure the City’s compliance with the Consent Decree and specifically how to ensure racial equality in policing.

The plaintiffs are represented by David Rudovsky, Paul Messing, and Susan Lin of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg, and Lin LLP; Mary Catherine Roper of the ACLU of Pennsylvania; and Seth Kreimer, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

A copy of today’s report, previous reports, and the original complaint can be found at aclupa.org/Bailey.

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