The results of a year-long study to determine whether Louisville Metro Police officers racially profile when making traffic stops should be available “later this summer,” police officials said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a Jefferson County grand jury declined to indict four young African-American men on multiple charges, including robbery, stemming from the March 22 mob violence in downtown Louisville.
When asked what he thought led to his arrest, one of the men, Tyrone Booker Jr., 20, said, plainly: “Racial profiling.”
On Tuesday, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad told WFPL that the young men were not arrested just because they were black, but because they “fit the description given.
“I don’t think anyone should have a reason to be fearful of an encounter with a police officer,” he added.
The study began a year before the March 22 incident as a response to earlier concerns raised by community members.
Conrad requested in 2012 the study be conducted as a way to prove what he believes is fair police work being done by officers in Louisville.
“I need to be able to demonstrate to anybody in the community that what I’m saying is true. I believe it, but I can’t show it,” he said in June 2012.
A police spokesman on Wednesday said data was collected “from every traffic stop” between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014.
Police administrators are confident the results of the study will “allay community concerns regarding possible racial profiling,” the spokesman said in a written response to questions.
LMPD policy states the following in relation to profiling:
Engaging in any of the following activities based solely on an individual’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity/national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, disability or other characteristics attributed to an individual as a member of such a group is strictly prohibited:
- Making discretionary decisions during the course of an enforcement activity (CALEA 1.2.7)
- Initiating a traffic stop, detention or other law enforcement activity
- Targeting individuals
Police procedures can be found here. The section on profiling is on page 408.
University of Louisville researchers working on the study are sifting through the data related to traffic stops. An LMPD spokesperson said the study will be conducted annually.
In addition to the traffic stop study, UofL researchers are also working on a study that looks at citizens’ attitude towards police.
Just more than $110,000 was budgeted for both studies this fiscal year, and the same will be set aside next year for the same studies, police officials said.