Greensboro police are reacting after an article in the New York Times highlighted the racial disparity in how the department deals with traffic stops.
It's a phenomenon known as “driving while black,” and while the newspaper says it's a nationwide problem, the story uses Greensboro as a lens to explore the issue.
According to an analysis of tens of thousands of traffic stops by The Times, Greensboro police officers pulled over African-American drivers at a significantly higher rate, proportionally, than white drivers.
In addition, black drivers were more than twice as likely to be searched, even though police were far more likely to find guns or drugs if the driver was white.
James Hinson is Deputy Chief of Greensboro Police. He says the department is taking the article to heart.
“We have to embrace this article, we have to embrace the contents of it, we have to embrace the numbers so that we can know that this is a concern of the community, and we realize that,” Hinson said. “And with this being a concern of the community, it also has to be a concern of ours.”
Still, he says many black residents live in high crime areas, and that traffic stops are effective law enforcement tools.
Hinson also points to the creation of a biased-based policing committee, the use of body cameras, and new training being rolled-out soon as evidence the department is taking racial profiling seriously.