Why Does This Study Saying Oakland Cops Are More Racist When Tired Even Exist?
A number of studies have been released this year that come to conclusions that black people were already well aware of. Take for example this study that found that United States law enforcement is overrun with white supremacists. Now there is this study that reveals that Oakland cops are more racist when tired or stressed.
Titled “Working to Close the Gap: How Stress and Fatigue Impact Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops by Oakland Police,” the report (via The Bold Italic) notes “that officers stop African Americans at higher rates during the middle of their shifts. This indicates that there may be events during the day that impact officer behavior, contributing to the observed racial disparities.”
“The average OPD officer already starts their day relatively racistly: in the first hour of their shift, 52 percent of traffic stops are of black people,” researcher Meghan Hunt writes. “From the get-go, this is already grossly disproportionate compared to the overall population — 28 percent of Oakland is black.”
Hunt notes that most OPD police officers work 10-hour shifts and are supposed to take a 30-minute break but often times the break is not taken. Without a break Hunt noticed that there was a 66 percent increase in black people getting pulled over during traffic stops.
From the report only gets worse:
When an officer makes three stops in a day, this effect is striking. The first stop of an African American leads to 35 percent being searched and 29 percent handcuffed. By the third stop of a day, 48 percent of African Americans are searched, and 42 percent are handcuffed.
For whites, rates of search and handcuffing stay the same for the first and third stop and actually decrease for the second stop.
In terms of solutions, Hunt suggests the obvious which is cops take their 30-minute break. But she also suggests a “shift from discretionary to intelligence-based stops.” What that means is that Oakland police officers will no longer be directed to pull people over for minor infractions, such as a broken taillight or an expired registration. Instead, someone would have to be stopped if they committed an actual moving violation, or if an officer had information/evidence of criminal activity.
The study itself has been approved by the Office of the Inspector General and accepted by the OPD, so it can’t be ignored by the department.