WASHINGTON -- A new report from the ACLU finds massive racial disparities in the way DC Police deal with blacks and whites.
The civil rights group found police are arresting African Americans at 10 times the rate of white people, and even more so for minor offenses.
The ACLU asked for arrest data under the Freedom of Information Act and got an eyeful. The ACLU’s analysis shows that between 2013 and 2017, African Americans were 47 percent of DC's population, but 86 percent of the people police arrested.
"When you have a disparity of 86 percent of the arrests being black, in a city that's 47 percent black, that's not just one or two officers. That's a systemic problem than needs a systemic solution," said Michael Perloff, an attorney with the ACLU of D.C.
"Even in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods, it was the African Americans who tended to be arrested. "The black population of Kalorama is five percent," said Perloff. "The black share of arrestees in Kalorama is 44 percent."
The report also found thousands of African Americans were arrested for non-violent, relatively minor crimes. Of the people arrested for driving without a permit, 78 percent of them were African American.
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"We don't think people should be subjected to the terror and humiliation of arrest for something that's relatively minor. But you should definitely reconsider those arrests when it's promoting racial bias, when it's sowing distrust in the community," Perloff said.
The Bowser Administration released a statement saying residents deserve both safe neighborhoods -- and a police department they can trust. Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue pointed to initiatives like body-worn cameras and training on the city’s history and culture as ways DC is working to rebuild trust between the police and the community.