Guess what the Durham Police Department didn’t want to talk about at the third meeting of the Durham Human Relations Commission? The data. The FADE coalition has meticulously gathered and presented data showing extreme racial disparities in police stops and searches. Over the last decade, DPD officers have been more than 100% more likely to ask black motorists for their consent to search than similarly situated white motorists. Despite representing just 17.4% of the city population, black men constitute nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of all persons searched during traffic stops.
While Deputy Police Chief Anthony Marsh made a point of saying that the Department does not dispute the numbers, it was also clear that he didn’t want to talk about them. Instead, addressing a set of questions from the HRC, he spent upwards of an hour relating standard operating procedures of the PD.
The HRC will continue to conduct its investigation. Ultimately, they will make recommendations to City Council. To that end, it was heartening to see several council members present including Eddie Davis and Don Moffitt as well a number of other elected leaders. And while the Police Department does not want to address the central allegations, the data will not go away. They can only deflect for so long.
View testimony of FADE partner Nia Wilson of SpiritHouse below.
Media coverage of the hearing may be reviewed below:
The Durham News
The Durham Herald-Sun
The Raleigh News & Observer