Last week, a report from the city’s Office of Police Oversight, Office of Innovation, and Equity Office showed that black and Hispanic drivers are more likely to be stopped in their vehicles by Austin police than white and Asian drivers. Following the release of the report, the Public Safety Commission heard from the community and the Austin Police Department at its Feb. 3 meeting.
“I’m tired of hearing fluff, I want to hear answers,” said newly elected Chair Meghan Hollis. “It’s time for all of us to call out systemic racism and implicit bias.”
The report found that based on APD motor vehicle stop data for 2018, black people constituted 15 percent of those pulled over by police and 25 percent of those who were arrested. In Austin, the black population makes up roughly 8 percent of the total population. Hispanics accounted for 33 percent of vehicle stops and 44 percent of people pulled over and arrested by police although they represent 31 percent of the population. Whites, according to the data, had a negative chance of being pulled over. While Caucasians make up 54 percent of Austin’s population, they accounted for only 47 percent of traffic stops and 30 percent of those arrested as a result of being pulled over.