You’d think the media fact checkers would be all over this, and you’d be wrong.
Unable to pin racism charges on Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder is using half-baked data to manufacture a case of racism against his entire police force.
Holder’s race-baiting civil rights crew combed through several years of Ferguson Police Department data on traffic stops, searches and arrests and “found a pattern of racial disparities in Ferguson’s police activities.”
“African Americans are overrepresented in FPD’s vehicular stops” and victims of “racial bias,” Holder concludes in his report.
He notes that blacks accounted for 85% of vehicle stops, “despite comprising only 67% of Ferguson’s population,” while whites made up 15% of stops, despite representing 29% of the population.
So there you have it, a slam-dunk case of racism, right? Hardly.
Outrageously, the nation’s top prosecutor failed to control for factors that explain the racial “disparity” in traffic stops, such as speeding, DUI, expired license plates, headlight, seat-belt and child-restraint violations and other reasons for being pulled over.
Holder’s own department statistics show that African Americans, on average, violate speeding and other traffic laws at much greater rates than whites.
The Justice Department’s research arm, the National Institute of Justice, explains that differences in traffic stops can simply be attributed to “differences in offending.”
For another example, “Seat-belt usage is chronically lower among blacks,” the NIJ says in a 2013 study. “If a law enforcement agency aggressively enforces violations, police will stop more black drivers.”
It adds that three out of every four black drivers say “police had a legitimate reason for stopping them.”