Cited for Being in Plain Sight: How California Polices Being Black, Brown, and Unhoused in Public

In the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as hundreds of thousands of protestors have joined demonstrations throughout the world, there is renewed attention on the day to day dysfunction of police. And, there is new energy and increased political will to eliminate harmful police functions. From inherently segregationist “Ugly Laws” to the Reconstruction era “Black Codes,” the development and enforcement of infraction laws has been and continues to be racist and classist. Police in California issued over 250,000 non-traffic infraction citations in 2019. Non-traffic infractions are only the most low-level violations in both the state and local municipal codes, punishable by a fine. They do not include harms to people or property, but instead criminalize everyday behaviors such as standing, sleeping, owning a dog, and crossing the street.1 Data from this report show deep racial disparities in enforcement: these are not citations police commonly give in white, wealthy neighborhoods. Though the citations are criminal, there is no right to an attorney, and therefore little recourse for people who are targeted for enforcement because of their race. The result is hundreds of dollars in fines and fees people cannot afford to pay, and, in some counties, warrants and arrests for people who do not either pay or appear in court. This ongoing form of police harassment of Black and Latinx communities, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities can cause trauma, and enforcement of minor infractions has led to police violence.

Traffic Stops in Baltimore County Maryland

There are 3 types of police stops for vehicle and traffic infractions: Moving, non-moving, and administrative. When you look at the data keep in mind what type of stops are most used? Also think how police might be issuing the traffic tickets. Are the tickets the reason for the stop? Is the ticket an infraction detected after initial stop like the car was stopped for speeding and then it was discovered that the driver’s license was suspended. Or was a crime discovered that was totally unrelated from the stop like the driver was speeding and a gun was observed in the vehicle.

It would be interesting to know the initial reason for the stop for each stop and then see how the stops progress.


The dashboard has analysis of police traffic stops in Baltimore County Maryland

The Dashboard can be accessed HERE

Report from Baltimore County Maryland Equitable Policing Advisory Group: Initial Findings and Recommendations

San Diego mayor, chief and police reform advocate talk policing during forum – The San Diego Union-Tribune

This is how police officers have been defined as racist – by racial bias – that the police don’t mean to be bias but can’t help it.

I’ll bet that there is ZERO definitive proof in this study (where there is no report released) that there is NO SIGNIFICANT ANALYSIS that racism exists in the traffic stops. NONE. I would be more specific and provide reasons why but the report hasn’t been released.

Bishop Cornelius Bowser, a police reform advocate who said the racial disparities represent a systemic problem within the San Diego Police Department.

“It doesn’t meant that officers are racist,” Bowser said. Instead, he explained, the issue is racial bias that “officers don’t think about.”

How officers police Black communities versus White communities is embedded in the culture of policing, he said.

“You see a Black man and think criminal,” he said. “I believe when police officers are out there in patrol they have to reimagine policing.
— Read on