Portland Police Traffic Stops Disproportionately Involve African Americans, Report Finds

Maxine Bernstein, Oregon Live, February 19, 2014

Traffic stops of African Americans over five months in 2011 accounted for 11.8 percent of all Portland police traffic stops, a disproportionately high rate considering they make up about 6 percent of the city’s population age 16 and over.

“This is the only racial/ethnic group in this analysis that is consistently stopped in greater proportion than their driving population would indicate,” bureau crime analyst Sgt. Greg Stewart wrote in the Portland Police Bureau report released Wednesday.

The disparity carried over to police stops of pedestrians. African Americans made up 19.5 percent of all pedestrian stops, also disproportionately high compared to their population in the city.


African Americans were less likely to be pulled over for a major traffic violation than white motorists, yet more likely to be pulled over for an equipment violation, a license violation or for what was classified only as “other” violation, the report said.

Also, when African American, Hispanic and Native American motorists were stopped, they were more likely than whites to be searched by police. While 8.3 percent of African American motorists consented to a police search, for example, only 1.9 percent of white drivers agreed to a police search, the data showed.

Black motorists who were stopped were patted down for weapons 1.3 percent of the time, the report said. That compares to only 0.3 percent of the white motorists stopped who were patted down for weapons by police.


Gang enforcement officers conducted searches more frequently than patrol officers. “The use of aggressive traffic enforcement as a tool to address gang violence may create racial disparities in stops and searches,” the report said.

The bureau’s analysis found that the number of patrol stops increase with the amount of crime and police calls for service in a neighborhood, and that enhanced patrols in areas of higher crime can lead to “disparities in contact between police and communities of color.”

The bureau is working to develop an equity plan, increase diversity of its officers and have all officers receive training on institutional racism this year. About 60 command staff received the training in late 2012, and sergeants attended it last year.


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  • D.B. Cooper

    Look, Portland. I watch Grimm, and the main character is a Portland detective. Don’t you guys up there have real problems, like monsters disguised as humans?

  • Puggg

    I personally think the disproportion would be higher. I have a feeling the b&w’s in Portland aren’t stopping or accosting all the blacks they’d like to. Because they know they have the NAACP breathing over their shoulder.

    • The Verdict of History

      Well… in their defense.. it appears as if SOMEONE is doing their job well.

      It is in US law enforcement that one finds the last vestiges of (genuine) conservative sanity in the country…

    • The Verdict of History

      They are more likely to question the doctrine of egalitarian idealism.

      • Who Me?

        “Gang enforcement officers conducted searches more frequently than patrol officers.”
        And Portland has far less then the usual number of raids on the “wrong address” or “innocent persons”. Less than most other places in the country. Looks to me like they might be doing something right. The police in Portland know who is committing the most crime, and they are trying to do something about it, and the NAACP be damned, as far as possible.

  • Michiganman6

    Didn’t they already beat this dead horse? I think it was New Jersey that determined from traffic cameras that blacks were being ticketed at the correct rate. Well, unless the traffic cameras are considered racist….which some may claim!

    • sbuffalonative

      It’s another hit and run.

      NJ proved blacks were speeding and now you don’t hear about it anymore.

      So they move to another state where they can do another drive-by accusation.

  • Extropico

    I’m shocked that the rate of traffic stopping is only double their demographic percentage. They are being discriminated… in favor of.

  • D.B. Cooper

    Jeezus H. Kryst, I’m tired of this topic. How about just NOT stop black drivers in some cities, and other cities can stop whomever they please for any reason? Put up signs before you enter the city that say “This is a stop and frisk zone”.
    YOU decide which town you want to live in. If you are black, I’m sure they aren’t stopping anyone in Detroit.

    • Negro fatigue is setting in.

      • Brian

        Know the signs:

  • sbuffalonative

    Objectivity is racist.

  • All this will do is foster an attitude of not caring and officers will start putting on their blinders, oblivious to the crime around them. They will be less proactive in making consensual contacts and the wonderful people of Portland will suddenly start seeing a rise in crime. As a retired cop, I know. It never fails.

  • David Ashton

    “Britain” got the idea of “institutional racism” from Stokely Carmichael, and now the lucky old US of A has got it back again.

  • Luca

    One would think they should be stopped about 7 times more than Whites considering their ratio of actually committing crimes.

  • Blacks are bad drivers, too busy tweeting and planning their next flash mob funfest. No racism in pulling over bad drivers.

    • bubo

      Blacks are extremely inconsiderate drivers I might add. Much worse than any other group.

      • sbuffalonative

        Last fall, I was in Buffalo’s black ‘east side’ and I was almost hit twice within 10 minutes by blacks while I was crossing the street, had the WALK flashing for me, and I had the right of way.

        And what is it with blacks and horns? I never heard so many honking horns outside a traffic jam in my life. Most of them were to get the attention of their friends hanging out in front of stores.

      • r j p

        Was about hit by a negro cab driver walking home from the store tonight.
        Unless absolute emergency I refuse to use negro cab drivers.
        The white people he was trying to pick up were not happy when I used “the word”.

      • Erasmus

        Blacks are generally inconsiderate. Who would imagine climbing behind the wheel of a car would make them more thoughtful? That 85 IQ just can’t be hidden.

    • Homo_Occidentalis

      Clearly the Portland cops can see the race of every driver as they pass at 70mph and only pick on the dark ones. They all collude on this institutionalized practice by means of secret intra-office memos and furtive coded gestures before speeding off to hail the innocent black motorists. It is in this way that the nasty legacy of slavery is kept alive and well in mega-lefty Oregon.

      • sbuffalonative

        I know. Try this experiment. See if you can identify the face of the driver in front of you.

        • 1stworlder

          I worked with a black who was talking about how this racist cop pulled him over twice in a month, I asked where he got pulled over. I made the mistake of telling him there was a speed trap at the one bridge.

  • dd121

    And while we’re at it, let’s teach the blacks about their institutional criminality.

    • sbuffalonative

      You don’t have to teach them. That’s something that comes naturally.

      • Erasmus

        Yup. It’s wasn’t called darkest Africa because it was always night time.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    Racial profiling makes sense because blacks are statistically more likely to be involved in criminal activity than whites. If blacks are responsible for a significant percentage of crime in a certain area, it makes sense for law enforcement to target them more often than whites for traffic stops.

    • Ron Cheaters

      Basically low iq fails to tell them if they have a car load of drugs.. Don’t speed, don’t play loud music, don’t run stop lights. Pretend like you’re Oprah or Bill Cosby taking a pleasant drive and dtop the attitude..
      That logic never seems to prevail with blacks.. that’d why they get pulled over.

      • sbuffalonative

        Or if you’re operating a drug house, don’t have people pull up at 1am blasting their stereos. That kind of behavior tends to draw peoples attention.

  • Greg Thomas

    Wait a minute! I pulled you over because you were doiing 60 in a 40 not because you are black. Oh, never mind. The rule of law no longer matters in this country if you are a member of diversity. The rule of law is simply an inconvenience that is dismissed as “racist and discriminatory” for people of diveristy.

  • Spartacus

    Again, the rape-apes complain….

  • Soul Hunter

    Are there any cities or towns that are black-free? . .I want to go there.

    • Alexandra1973

      Mine is 97% White. It’s in northern Wayne County, Ohio.

      • SouthronKittie

        I’m so jealous

      • Who Me?

        Our town is listed at 0.2% black. However it is also listed at 39% Hispanic, so take your pick. This is eastern Washington State.

  • 1stworlder

    In the UK ULP scanners turned out to be even more racist than humans.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Machines be rayciss.

  • Truth Teller

    We already have license plate scanning in Los Angeles. The easiest way to clear warrants and get criminals off the street is to stop blacks, run warrant checks and search for drugs and guns.

    • r j p

      Good luck with that idea.

  • Earl Turner

    Numbers on paper don’t tell the story. How about the reason they get pulled over more? They’re incredibly bad drivers, especially black women.

    • Bantu_Education

      I read somewhere that the accident rate of black motorists was 2.5 x the average, which seems intuitive given their low intelligence, high aggression and quick anger, but can’t find any stats online. Can anyone confirm?

  • Erasmus

    Only 25%? When I was a kid and didn’t know about things like IQ, I had observed even then that many of the blacks I knew seemed retarded.

    • 1stworlder

      The bar for mental retardation was lowered from 85 to 70 when it was realized the AVG IQ of US blacks is 85 allowing 1/2 of them to avoid the death penalty.

  • Brian

    “Political correctness is a war on noticing things” – Steve Sailer

  • Maybe these cops are paying attention to things like screwy, drug-addled driving, expired plates, and vehicles that have already been reported stolen. Just a guess.

  • Who Me?

    Ain’t it just…