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Black, Hispanic drivers more likely to be stopped by police in Virginia

The underrepresentation occurred not only for drivers stopped but also for all related measures including reasons for stops, searches of drivers, and arrests.

VIRGINIA, USA — A new report analyzing traffic stop data over a nine-month period in Virginia shows that Black and Hispanic drivers are disproportionately stopped by police in Virginia, more so than their white counterparts. They are also more likely to be searched and arrested, according to data. 

In the report, presented by Virginia's Department of Criminal Justice Services, there were a total of 567,181 traffic stops analyzed between July 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.  In that period, 30.8% of the drivers stopped were Black, while 19.5% of Virginia's driving-age population is Black. 

Black drivers also found themselves on the receiving end of a search at a higher rate than white drivers as well. Of the stopped Black drivers, 2.8% had a search conducted on them or their car. White drivers were only searched 2.1% of the time.

When it comes to arrests, Black drivers also received the higher rate of 1.9% versus white drivers who were arrested 1.2% of the times they were stopped by police.

Black drivers are not alone in being stopped at a higher rate than white drivers - Hispanic drivers also found themselves pulling over for police more. Hispanics make up 8.9% of Virginia’s driving-age population, but they made up 9.5% of drivers stopped.  After being stopped, 2.9% of Hispanic drivers were searched and during their stops they were arrested 2.1% of the time -- higher than both their white and Black counterparts. 

The report says that statewide, white, American Indian/Alaskan Native and Asian/Pacific Islander drivers were stopped at rates near or below their representation in the driving-age population. 

"This underrepresentation occurred not only for drivers stopped but also for all related measures including reasons for stops, searches of drivers and vehicles, and stop outcomes such as arrests or citations," the report stated.

This finding was also represented in the 2021 report.

The report states that 97.6% of the traffics stops conducted in the state were made for traffic or motor-vehicle equipment violations, with the most frequent outcome being a citation or summons. In total, the stops in Virginia, during the analysis period, that resulted in a search was 13,390 and arrests made equaled 8,257.

Watch Next: Alexandria, Virginia man sues in alleged 'driving while black' arrest


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