City Official Alleges Racial Profiling by Police

City Official Alleges Racial Profiling by Police

by Justin Kree

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Every year, the State of Texas requires all city police departments go through an outside agency to conduct a Traffic Contact Report. Even though Midland did well in the report, some questions were raised on the accuracy of the test.

"Racial profiling is narrowly defined. It's only when a citation is issued or an arrest made. So it doesn't take into consideration all those times that people were stopped and a citation was not issued and an arrest not made," Councilman, John B. Love, said.

The test was conducted by Dr. Eric Fritsch from the University of North Texas. He concluded that no racial profiling was done by the Midland Police Department.

"Looking at racial profiling and whether or not the officer made a conscious decision to stop a vehicle based on the race or ethnicity of the driver. The data shows almost all the time, that the officer doesn't know the race or ethnicity of the driver prior to the stop," Fritsch said.

But Councilman John B. Love believes the test can't determine that's happening every time a traffic stop is made. He claims Austin is to blame for this test the departments need to follow.

"In order to change the law, it needs to come from the Texas Legislature. The unfortunate thing is the African American Caucus at the Texas Legislature signed off on this law and I think that is a disservice," Love said.

Midland Police Chief Price Robinson must put his department through this test. He is certain all steps are made when dealing with complaints, even the problems with racial profiling.

"A person can file a racial profiling complaint if they feel they were given a citation, arrested or searched based on their race," Robinson said.

Councilman Love believes racial profiling is occurring even if the driver was free to go and no penalty was given. He wants to work closely with the police department to come up with other ways to stop racial profiling.

"We might want to look at possible surveys from citizens on how they feel they are being treated. I can tell you the results would be alarming," Love said.