LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — The leader of the Michigan State Police is pledging changes in conjunction with the release of an independent report finding that troopers disproportionately pulled over Black drivers in 2020 traffic stops.
Across the state, African American motorists were more likely to be stopped than expected under a series of benchmarks, according to the research done by the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice.
The report revealed traffic stops that happened during daylight hours were 33% more likely to involved African American drivers. The study writers noted that was troubling because it’s easier to see the race of a driver during the day than at night.
The review also says Black and Hispanic drivers were significantly more likely than White motorists to be searched or arrested after traffic stops.
“While this report reveals the disparities do exist, it is not a commentary on the integrity of individual troopers,” Col. Joe Gasper, director of Michigan State Police, said. “We need further study to determine the root causes for these disparities but the need for further study does not change the fact that these findings demand immediate action.”
Gasper outlined a five-point plan to better understand and address the disparities.
“On behalf of the entire department, I pledge immediate action to identify and enact solutions,” he said. “Michiganders deserve unbiased policing, transparency and accountability from their state police, and that’s what they’re going to get.”