Traffic stops of Black drivers don’t prove police are guilty of racial profiling

By Chicago 4 Min Read

I don’t quite understand the point of the recent Sunday “Watchdog” articles (“Black drivers are pulled over by police more, mostly for non-moving violations”) complaining that, while the state’s adult Black population is 13.6%, Black drivers accounted for 30.5% of all traffic stops.

Where is it written that either moving (e.g., speeding) or non-moving (talking on the phone, not wearing seat belts, driving with expired plates) violations are equally distributed among the general population on the basis of race?

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A more telling comparison would include survey evidence of the rate of commission of such violations. A quick, non-scientific but easily observable eye test would show that virtually 100% of Chicagoland drivers speed and follow too closely — especially on the expressways — regardless of race, age, income or gender.

But what about the distribution of, to use the examples the report cites, not wearing seat belts, talking on the phone or driving with expired plates? The data for this last category should be readily available from the secretary of state’s office, so why not start there? As for the others, why should race have anything to do with it? The laws are the laws and apply equally to us all.

It seems to me both counterintuitive and counterproductive to suggest that Chicago Police Department officers are singling out Black Chicagoans for traffic stops because they are Black.

Counterintuitive because officers risk not only their lives but their careers any time they pull over a motorist these days, particularly if racial bias can be shown. And counterproductive to try to make everything about race instead of the actual conduct of individuals involved.

David Applegate, Huntley

Trump’s mafia-style threats must stop

Thanks to Mona Charen for writing about the elephant in the room that has heretofore received minimal coverage, i.e., the Trump fear factor (“Fear factor in Republican politics is dead serious”). Trump has constantly made threats against his “enemies” that are becoming more and more overt as time goes on. 

The exhortation to violence on Jan. 6 was not subtle — nor was the response. And the harassment of election workers after the 2020 election was unconscionable.

Aside from scaring honest candidates away from running for office or standing up for truth, the former president’s mafia-style threats have probably added to our increasing crime problems. If a former president can get away with physically endangering those he disagrees with, it encourages others to do the same.

Trump has not only not paid a price for his thuggish behavior (so far), he is currently the leading GOP candidate for U.S. president. Will people really vote for an indicted felon who believes in threatening his generals with execution?

Do we have a death wish for our democracy?

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

We need real leaders

So now we get a 45-day reprieve to keep government running, and unless renegade Republicans in the U.S. House get what they want, we start over with another shutdown showdown. Where do we find “leaders” (?) like these?

Dan McGuire, Bensenville

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