Back in 2015 when San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber passed a law requiring California law enforcement officers to collect data about who they pull over, a police union spokesman made a bold claim: The law was unnecessary because racial profiling doesn’t exist.
“There is no racial profiling. There just isn’t,” the officer told the L.A. Times in 2015. “There is criminal profiling that exists.”
Now, the state is making strides to implement the law, and the idea that racial profiling doesn’t happen is still being asserted by law enforcement.
In a new story, Ashly McGlone got a look at data collected by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego Police Department during a two-week trial run of some of the new state requirements. The small snapshot of data showed both departments pulled over blacks and Latinos at a higher rate than those groups’ share of the population. Both departments say the data sample is too small to be used to reach any conclusions about profiling.
“There is no profession more committed to ensuring that bias is not a factor,” SDPD spokesman Lt. Scott Wahl told McGlone. “I think some of the most unbiased people in society are police officers.”
The data also showed some potential issues as collection ramps up: Officers, for example, sometimes checked multiple races when entering the data, and included only vague details about why they pulled some people over.