Commentary: Getting to the Crux of the Problem – Where Is the Bias in Policing Coming From?

Police Chief Darren Pytel

By David M. Greenwald

A critical point that I think needs to be better understood in the context of policing is, if the problem is one of systemic racism, then the solution may not be reached simply by changing the behavior of individuals.

That’s a crucial point because a lot of the reforms that we have seen—Colorado ending qualified immunity, California changing its use-of-force requirements, many areas requiring body worn cameras—aim their policies at changing individual level behavior.

But what if biased policing comes from three areas—concentrated poverty in urban areas, patterns of policing that reinforce that concentration of poverty, and implicit bias?

I think Mayor Partida in her conversation and questioning of Chief Darren Pytel hit on an important point, but she and we need to dive deeper.

She responded in part to my Sunday column which accused the chief of punting on the issue by stating, “I don’t know if Darren deflected my question as much as I felt he missed my question. He did correctly point out that the buck stopped at the DA’s office. He also stated that he did not fully understand what the recommendation around charging referred to.”

She writes, “Essentially what I wanted to know was all things being equal if you pull over two people with expired plates and broken tail lights and one is white and one is not do you give both a ticket or do you give the white person a ticket but ask to search the POC’s car. If you search both cars do you report the minor drugs you found in the POC’s car and not the white persons.”

And she’s right, “this is a reality in the world.”

But the problem goes far deeper and it is far more sinister.   Indeed, if we were only dealing with discretionary decisions by the police officer, we could probably solve that problem with training—although as we have seen with everything from use of force to racial profiling, even that is easier said than done.

The problem here starts well before the police officer has to make a decision on an arrest.

First, we know from data that people of color are more likely to be stopped than white people.  That is true in Davis as well as globally.  Why?  In a lot of areas the answer has to do with where the police are deploying resources, but in places like Davis, it also has to do with the types of vehicles being pulled over.  A lot of times—especially at night—the officer can’t see who is driving, but can see the year and make of the car and its condition.

We know from data, people are color are disproportionately pulled over.

Next, once pulled over, we know from data that Black and Brown people are far more likely to have their vehicles searched than whites.  That means generally that an officer has to gain permission to search the car (although probably sometimes they do so unlawfully or coercively).

The book Suspect Citizens came out in 2018, and it looked at data from North Carolina and found, “Blacks were 63 percent more likely to be stopped even though, as a whole, they drive 16 percent less. Taking into account less time on the road, blacks were about 95 percent more likely to be stopped.

“Blacks were 115 percent more likely than whites to be searched in a traffic stop (5.05 percent for blacks, 2.35 percent for whites),” they found.

And the incredible thing: contraband was more likely to be found in searches of white drivers.

Why is that?  We think largely because Black drivers are being searched based on factors that have less to do with probability of having contraband—they are more blanket searches while whites are being searched because there is a specific reason to search then.

“So, black drivers were stopped disproportionately more than white drivers compared to the local population and were at least twice as likely to be searched, but they were slightly less likely to get a ticket,” Professor Kelsey Shoub, one of the authors, explained. “That correlates with the idea that black drivers were stopped on the pretext of having done something wrong, and when the officer doesn’t see in the car what he thought he might, he tells them to go on their way.”

Lest you think this was a North Carolina specific finding, Shoub and her colleagues also analyzed stop data from 16 others states and found similar disparities.

The point I’m making here is that to get to the point where the police officer is making the arrest decision, they have already made the decision to stop, search, locate and then they decide whether to arrest and, as you can guess, when officers have discretion, they are more likely to arrest the person of color than the white person.

Then the DA takes over, where they are more likely to charge the person of color, more likely to charge them more seriously—and the person of color is more likely to be convicted, more likely to serve more time, and finally more likely to serve a longer period of time.

As I said at the start, decisions on where to deploy law enforcement resources account for some of this, vestiges of systemic racism and concentrated poverty account for some, and implicit bias accounts for some.

We need to figure out why people of color are disadvantaged and how to start creating a more equitable society.  That is a hard question.  And it will take the police chief having some difficult and uncomfortable conversations to start getting to the answer.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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114 Comments

    1. David Greenwald

      Definition of sinister: “giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen.”

      I wouldn’t say evil, but definitely harmful.

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t know. The point of the paragraph was to convey the idea that the problem of policing is not merely at the level of individual behavior – and then to introduce the concept of systemic racism and eventually show it at work through data and example. Perhaps I could have used the word pernicious instead of sinister.

          1. David Greenwald

            And actually I wasn’t trying to portray police as sinister, it was systemic racism that was being described as such.

        2. Richard McCann

          The use of “sinister” implies that the harm is coming from an action or decision by individuals or groups. That is perfectly aligned with what the discussion in the article that shows how actions and decisions by individuals and groups are creating this bias. Rather than attacking the use of the word, a better response would be to acknowledge the thrust of the evidence David presents. That would lead to a much more fruitful discussion rather than becoming defensive over the use of a word.

      1. Tia Will

        I am willing to stick my neck out on this one. I believe that outcomes such as the shooting of Tamir Rice, Philando Castillo, Stephon Clark, and Breonna Taylor and the murder of George Floyd go beyond harmful into the realm of evil. True, we have seen no such dramatic outcomes here in Davis. So are we going to wait for one to happen, or are we going to do the hard work of assessment necessary for prevention?

  1. Eric Gelber

    As I said at the start, decisions on where to deploy law enforcement resources account for some of this, vestiges of systemic racism and concentrated poverty account for some, and implicit bias accounts for some.

    Davis, unlike many urban areas, does not have concentrated areas of poverty or deployment areas with significantly different racial concentrations. (And in a university town, year, make and condition of a vehicle is likely more associated with student status than race.) That would seem to leave systemic racism and implicit bias as the primary factors in biased policing, at least locally. This has implications for remedial approaches.

  2. Ron Oertel

     it also has to do with the types of vehicles being pulled over.  A lot of times—especially at night—the officer can’t see who is driving, but can see the year and make of the car and its condition.

    Implicit bias against certain cars.

    In Davis, that would include all American makes, and anything that’s not at least a hybrid. 

    Unless, of course, they’re parked in the thousands on paved-over, peripheral farmland. In that case, there is no bias.

    Of course, that vehicular bias also applies regarding unmarked and marked police cars, MRAPS, etc.

    😉

      1. Ron Oertel

        I rarely see anyone getting pulled-over, these days.  Anywhere.

        They ought to be pulling over a lot more people, based upon driving habits. They probably don’t have enough personnel to do so.

        1. Ron Oertel

          You can look at it, but you’re not necessarily going to arrive at accurate conclusions regarding the cause of discrepancies.

          Just as you’re not going to come to accurate conclusions regarding enormous discrepancies in crimes (as demonstrated by reports, arrests and convictions) between different neighborhoods and cities.

          1. David Greenwald

            You can keep arguing that point, the data is overwhelming and sophisticated data analysis can control for other variables.

          1. David Greenwald

            Read the book, Suspect Citizens, they analyze 20 million traffic stops, and then get back to me and we can talk.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Remember they also run your plate before they pull you over most of the time.

          And they determine skin color from that, and base their decision to pull over thereupon?

           

          1. David Greenwald

            They don’t need to determine skin color, they see 60-something resident with a Wildhorse address and they are less likely to pull them over than a 20 something person with an Oakland address.

        3. Richard McCann

          It’s important for Ron O to disparage any possible conclusions from data analysis because that allows him to claim that his misbegotten statements can’t be proven to be false. But contrary to his claim, there are many studies that show valid results. The fact is that many social studies use the same (or even better) statistical methods that other “hard” sciences such as biology and physiology–and even vaccine development–and we base all sorts of decisions on the findings from those studies. It requires long training to gain the expertise to review and critique those types of studies. (I review about 50 studies on the impacts of locally undesirable land uses on property values, and found that only half a dozen were valid about 20 years ago. I updated the study 10 years later with another 20 studies, and more than half of the new studies were valid.) Ron O, can you provide any credentials as to your expertise on determining if a study is valid?

        4. Ron Oertel

          Take a look at the crime rates in Oakland, Stockton, Richmond, parts of Chicago and L.A. (and even Sacramento), then get back to me.

          Of course, the false “thesis” on here is that every group is committing crimes at the same rate. Is it racist to call this what it is – complete b.s.?

          Personally, I think it’s actually harmful (to the “cause”) to discount reality.

        5. Eric Gelber

          Of course, the false “thesis” on here is that every group is committing crimes at the same rate.

          Whose thesis is that? I believe the thesis is that certain groups are stopped, searched, etc. at disproportionate rates under otherwise similar circumstances.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Well, a false thesis was attributed to me, below (and throughout the comment section today, and yesterday).  So, I thought I’d present the “opposite” thesis.

          But again, look at the crime rate (between different groups), to determine what is ultimately “causing” your thesis. I do not deny that this occurs, despite what some others seem to be claiming on here.

          Regarding the crime rate (between different groups), whose “responsibility” is that? (I think that’s the REAL question, to which I’m not proposing an answer.)

          But I will tell you that I agree with the thoughts of a middle-aged black man that I saw on the news the other night, stating that those communities are primarily responsible for solving that problem. I don’t think anyone else is going to do it for them.

        7. Eric Gelber

          Why would the different crime rates between different racial groups result in disproportionate stops, etc. under similar circumstances unless there are different criteria being applied—i.e., racial profiling?

        8. Ron Oertel

          Assuming that the circumstances are the same, that would be a reasonable conclusion.

          Again, my “thesis” is that there are actual differences in crime rates (between groups), which (also) leads to bias.

          Actually, I would present the first part of that as near-certain “fact”, and not a thesis. Probably the second part, as well.

          But unlike some (not necessarily you), I very much doubt that large differences in arrests and incarceration are due to “bias”. I would present (as evidence) the difference in crime rates between communities, as one example.

        9. Ron Oertel

          I would also present as “evidence” who is suspected of crimes in Davis, as a result of video surveillance, witness testimony, etc.

          I doubt that it’s a “proportional” representation.

          Do I really need to present evidence of that?

        10. Eric Gelber

          I get it now. You believe a higher rate of crime by a particular group is justification for discriminatory treatment of individual members of that group by police. (Also, I believe the discussion here has mostly been about traffic infractions, not crimes—so, crime rates aren’t really relevant.)

        11. Ron Oertel

          You disappoint me, Eric.  I thought that you were one to (normally) not put words in other people’s mouths.

          I’m done. It’s a waste of time and energy to discuss this with fanatics.

          But, I doubt that you’re convincing anyone – other than those who already believe.

        12. Ron Oertel

          When everyone interprets you the same way – maybe they aren’t the problem.

          Are Vanguard commenters a representative sample of something that you think is important?  (And even within that group, I doubt that you can say “everyone” purposefully misunderstands – repeatedly.)

          Let’s be honest – it’s a game on here, for some. And beyond that, blogs do not lend themselves to true understanding. Differences are focused on as part of that game, rather than cohesion.

        13. Ron Oertel

          It’s all part of the “brow-beating” on here, which doesn’t really serve any purpose (other than to prove how “righteous” someone is).

          The “mistake” that I keep making is initiating comments in the first place, unless (perhaps) it’s an issue that I care deeply about (and one where I think it might make a difference).

          Other than that, it’s probably not worth subjecting oneself to the nonsense that follows. But, I have learned to take that much-less seriously than I used to.

        14. Ron Oertel

          Maybe you could just refer to what I’ve actually said.

          For example, quote something that you think is “wrong” or that you have concerns about.  I think you’ll find that I’m not actually discounting whatever concern you might have.

          But the reason that I’ve allowed myself to be drawn into this in the first place is due to the underlying agenda, which only partially addresses what is occurring.

          1. David Greenwald

            I’ve made the same request as Eric. You said refer to what you said, I did. Apparently I got it wrong. Instead of fixing it, you keep going in circles – why? What you’re doing isn’t working.

        15. Ron Oertel

          And yet, despite my suggestion that a quote be found (that Eric is concerned about), David IMMEDIATELY pipes in with another comment/conclusion (again, without a quote).

          Maybe both of you should start looking in the mirror, regarding “bias”.

          Again, this (comment section) isn’t actually a representative sample of anything, other than those who tend to be activists (with some extra time and interest on their hands). In that type of online environment, it’s not likely that there’s going to be any useful conversation. (As if any of us had much power/influence to begin with.)

        16. Eric Gelber

          Maybe you could just refer to what I’ve actually said.

          How about: “I very much doubt that large differences in arrests and incarceration are due to “bias”. I would present (as evidence) the difference in crime rates between communities, as one example.”

          The discussion is about data showing disparate treatment of individuals for the same conduct based on race. How are group crime rate statistics relevant to that?

        17. Ron Oertel

          Apparently, I expanded the discussion.

          I don’t deny that bias exists (as I’ve repeatedly noted), but I also do not automatically assume that the circumstances are exactly the same (e.g., between two groups). And since we’re talking about groups, I guess you’d have to “group together” the circumstances, as well.

          And the location, timeframe, total number (sample size), etc. In other words, actual peer-reviewed studies.

          But ultimately, I’m not sure that I’m all that concerned if there’s some bias, if there’s actual reasons for arrests. To me, this is the more important point.

          And if some folks are stopped more than others (because of their car, etc.), I’m also not sure that I’d put that very high on my list of concerns.

          I’m more concerned about murder, assaults, robberies, etc. – in high crime areas. (In fact, I’d say that this has a much greater impact on the populations that you’re probably most concerned about.)

        18. Ron Oertel

          I’m also concerned if those from high-crime areas travel to low-crime areas, for the purpose of committing (you guessed it) crime.

          Pretty sure that Davis has had its share of that (which may be increasing, lately). And if that represents some groups more than others, I’m not sure that I’m the one who needs to apologize for noticing that, if it’s true.

          Same would be true if some groups within Davis commit more crimes – if borne out by facts.

        19. Eric Gelber

          But ultimately, I’m not sure that I’m all that concerned if there’s some bias, if there’s actual reasons for arrests.

          Wow! I won’t even begin to point out the myriad criminal justice implications of this statement.

        20. Ron Oertel

          Go for it.

          Of course, I’d prefer if all criminals were held accountable, and removed from society if they present a danger.

          I don’t necessarily support letting some criminals go, because of the possibility that implicit bias brought them to the attention of authorities. I guess that (according to some) I need to apologize for that. But yeah – it’s not at the top of my list of concerns.

          I’ll leave it up to others to advocate for criminals (in other words, those actually committing crimes), due to that possibility.

        21. Ron Oertel

          He keeps conflating stops and arrests.

          David keeps putting words in other people’s mouths.

          Quote it, rather than “attribute” it. Otherwise, let’s stop wasting time and energy on nonsense.

          1. David Greenwald

            “But ultimately, I’m not sure that I’m all that concerned if there’s some bias, if there’s actual reasons for arrests. “

          1. David Greenwald

            The issue here is not necessarily arrests, but traffic stops. Stopping people based on profiling in order to do an investigation when there is no evidence of wrongdoing. That’s the whole issue here.

        22. Ron Oertel

          So you attributed something to me that was inaccurate, then brought up a different point.

          Whatever.

          I believe that the police “profile” people in a lot of different ways – again, with some basis in reality. The reality causes the bias.

          Sure, you can state that this shouldn’t occur, and you’d be right. But I suspect that it always will occur, due to human nature.

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re illustrating that you don’t even understand this conversation. Which leads me back to the point I made earlier – why are we having this conversation? You haven’t done any homework, you have no understanding of the data, and yet you have spent all day arguing minutiae on an issue you claim not to care about it. Why? There are very important points here, but sadly, you haven’t raised any and don’t appear to care one bit about educating yourself. Why?

        23. Ron Oertel

           why are we having this conversation?

          You and I are probably not the only ones wondering about that.

          In my case, I guess I can’t resist responding – especially if someone tries to attribute something to me which I did not state. (Probably about 3/4 of the comments on here, but I suppose we’d need a study to confirm that.) 😉

          Go ahead and respond to someone else, and I’ll probably stay out of it in this article from this point forward.

          Will wait for you to resurrect Measure D (or DISC) or something similar, again. Probably tomorrow.

        24. Ron Oertel

          Though now that I think about Eric’s point, I can envision a societal problem if “one groups’ criminals” are arrested more often than “another groups’ criminals”.

          So, police should strive to arrest all of the criminals. Or, maybe they should just put everyone in jail – problem solved. 😉

        25. Alan Miller

          most of the time, there are only four police officers on duty.

          I’ve heard that and that’s what they want you to believe.  I found out one night just how not true that is . . .

        26. Alan Miller

          When everyone interprets you the same way – maybe they aren’t the problem.

          “everyone” as in the same few people?

          Differences are focused on as part of that game, rather than cohesion.

          Sounds like the last four years in national politics.

           

  3. Bill Marshall

    … the officer showed me how they pick which cars to pull over.

    Could you share more?  If you had in the past, I missed it… meant as friendly inquiry…

    1. David Greenwald

      Yeah – they look for someone committing a technical violation – not signalling, not coming to a complete stop, tail light out, expired license. Then they pull the person over or just run the plate, most of the time, they give them a warning and let them go, but sometimes the person has a warrant, they are acting suspicious, something, and then they use their various tools to investigate further.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Yeah – they look for someone committing a technical violation – not signalling, not coming to a complete stop, tail light out, expired license.

        How abusive!  Bad cop!

        1. David Greenwald

          You’re missing the key point here – the method creates bias because there is discretion as to who gets pulled over. If you watch 100 cars drive by, 60 of them will commit one of those technical violations. Which one gets pulled over? The statistics say, people of color disproportionately, why is that? I can guarantee you I commit at least one violation every time I drive and yet the last time I got pulled over was two years ago and I only got a warning.

        2. Alan Miller

          I drive and yet the last time I got pulled over was two years ago and I only got a warning.

          That’s such a coincidence.  The same thing happened to my Aunt, Ec Dotal.

        1. David Greenwald

          Of course not – you’re not the one getting pulled over. The remarkable thing is that the hit rate – if you read the study in Suspect Citizens – is extraordinarily low. I suspect you could pull people over randomly and get a comparable one.

        2. Richard McCann

          Of course, if you’re intent on creating a police surveillance state for a particular class, you don’t find any problem with this system that uses a pretense of a violation, of which most drivers commit at least one on a trip, to target that class.

        1. Tia Will

          “How do you know he wasn’t talking about you?”

          And with a single post, Keith knocks out months of his own posts complaining about bias from the moderator.

  4. Ron Oertel

    They don’t need to determine skin color, they see 60-something resident with a Wildhorse address and they are less likely to pull them over than a 20 something person with an Oakland address.

    This is an interesting comment, as I would guess (based upon common sense, or implied bias – take your pick) that one of these groups is a lot more likely to be looked upon with suspicion.

    Which group do you suppose is more likely to be involved in criminal activity (on average)? Objectively, not subjectively? And perhaps even more so, in Davis?

    In other words, what does the data tell you about that?

    1. David Greenwald

      The data tells me that policing based on presumptions is not a good policy. Policing should be based on actual evidence of suspicion and when it dives into this realm, it causes problems with a very low probability of actually finding wrongdoing. That’s why Blacks are more likely to be searched in the data analysis, but less likely once searched to yield actual contraband.

      You really believe we should police by profiling rather than actual suspicion?

      1. Ron Oertel

        it causes problems with a very low probability of actually finding wrongdoing. 

        That may be factually incorrect, if one of these groups causes a disproportionate number of crimes.  In fact, it would be a much higher probability of finding wrongdoing, compared to another group.

        Just pointing it out, not advocating it.

        1. Ron Oertel

          The data likely shows that one of these groups (of the two in your comparison) has a much higher likelihood of engaging in crime.

          Seems that you focus on one set of data, but not another.

          1. David Greenwald

            You are basically defending profiling as a policy, based on race-based suspicion rather than evidence-based suspicion. Is that you’re intent?

        2. Ron Oertel

          I’d suggest not “reading more into” what I’ve actually said.  It becomes too much work to constantly correct it when other commenters do this.

          But again, what does the data show regarding differences in crime rates between different groups?

          1. David Greenwald

            This is what you said: “The data likely shows that one of these groups (of the two in your comparison) has a much higher likelihood of engaging in crime. Seems that you focus on one set of data, but not another.” Tell where I have it wrong.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Tell you what:  Why don’t you present the data regarding crime rates between different groups, and then we’ll talk. Maybe a series of articles regarding that.

          Note that differences aren’t likely limited to skin color, nor would it necessarily show white people as the least-likely to commit crimes.

        4. Ron Oertel

          I’m not running a blog, claiming that differences are primarily due to bias.

          What do you suppose the crime rate is in parts of Oakland (using your example), compared to Davis?

          What conclusions would you draw from that?

          1. David Greenwald

            I’ve done my homework, you have not done yours but have occupied a great deal of my time arguing points that you would not argue if you were better versed on this stuff. It seems common courtesy not to ask someone to spoon feed material – particularly when I really don’t gain anything from this exchange.

        5. Ron Oertel

          I agree.  When one has an agenda, they definitely have nothing to gain from looking at data which conflict with that agenda.

          But I suspect that you’re going to have trouble getting buy-in for that agenda, from those who aren’t already convinced.

        6. Richard McCann

          Ron O

          Why do you consistently fail to look at data, and when you do you cherry pick? And then when someone else presents a more coherent analysis that contradicts your conclusion, why are you unable to acknowledge that they are correct? This is like when you were trying to claim that the school district could be downsized and you refused to acknowledge that the scale economies and sunk costs that have to be repaid make downscaling uneconomic. The fact here is that the data shows that Blacks are detained at a rate substantially disproportionate not only to their population but also to their conviction rate. (And note that the conviction rate is inflated for this group because they are not able to afford the legal counsel that wealthier classes use to avoid incarceration.) You continue to say “what problem?” because you are unwilling to acknowledge that fixing the problem will require effort from all of us including you.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Tell you what, Richard and David:

          Take a look at the crime rate in places like Oakland, Stockton, Richmond, etc.

          Or, one can look at the proportional representation in prisons. Unless one believes that this is all a result of systemic bias.

          If the difference isn’t painfully obvious to you, I’m not sure that it’s worth discussing this further.

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re still making the profiling argument – that the police should pull people over based on who they are, not what they are accused of doing. I think you should be honest about what you are saying.

        8. Ron Oertel

          I think you should stop “restating” what I’m saying. Not sure if this is purposeful, since I’ve explained it pretty well (and I’m not inclined to put a whole lot more effort into this).

          Have you actually checked the “data”, in the examples I’ve provided? That data is on the news, on a nightly basis.

          1. David Greenwald

            IF I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, perhaps you should explain it better because what I see is an argument based on differential crime rates justifies profiling. If that is not what you’re saying, there is a remedy for it – explain it better.

    2. Richard McCann

      The better example of whether a 20 year old with a Wildhorse address is more less likely to be pulled over than a 20 year old with an Oakland address. If you’re going to tell me that the one with an Oakland address is more likely to be involved in criminal activity, then you demonstrating the implicit bias that we are talking about in two ways. First you are tarring an entire class for the behavior of a few individuals over whom that class has no real control. That is bigotry. Second you are failing to acknowledge the reason why those few individuals are in situations that lead to their criminal activity which is the lack of access to economic opportunities caused by the larger discrimination against the class of which they are members. And the real question is whether this implicitly biased means of policing has any real effect on changing local criminal activity? No one has presented evidence that it does.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Unfortunately, it can be used that way.

          As can arrest and conviction numbers be improperly used to suggest “bias”.

          Of those two choices, I’d say that one predominates on here – by far.

  5. Bill Marshall

    Here might be a set of litmus tests for folk… how many times when you were ‘pulled over’?  Was it chance?  Was it a rightful/understandable stop?  What is you age and/or race?

    Been driving for 50 years… been ‘pulled over’ several times… all were ‘chance’, half were ‘understandable’… been cited 3 times (less than 50% of stops, rest were admitted errors, or ‘warnings), no arrests…

    Spouse, about same years driving, pulled over twice… neither were rightful, one marginally understandable…

    Oldest son, pulled over twice… one rightful… one was not understandable, one was rightful.  One arrest.

    Youngest son, either as driver or passenger, was ‘pulled over’ 6 times… one was understandable (heightened Picnic Day vigilance, by a police officer who was from out of City and County), but still ended with an arrest, 5 were not rightful/understandable stops… yet there were two citations…

    Daughter… one stop, neither rightful, nor understandable… no citation, no arrest.

    We’re all ‘white’… for our kids, all were youths/young adults…

    Others folk results may vary.

    “Chance” is funny… have flipped coins 3 times in a row, all ‘heads’… completely within ‘probability’…

    Unless egregious problems with person or vehicle, being pulled over is usually ‘chance’ in our experience… being “hassled” and or cited when pulled over is real… gets more to ‘individual police officer mentality’… not systemic, unless you add young white males to the “bias”… many police officers are great… many more are average… some are complete jerks, A-H’s.

    Not sure the word ‘systemic’ is fully appropriate… chance and stats (which can be manipulated if you are “looking for” confirmation [known as “confirmation bias”]) are also factors… not denying that “stuff” doesn’t happen, but attributing ‘causality’, definitively, is another matter… there are real problems… we need to truly address the roots of them… and use “Roundup”, a topical chemical that is indeed a ‘systemic’, and kills invasive weeds down to the roots…

    1. Richard McCann

      I’ve been pulled over 4 times I think, every time for violating a traffic law, the last time before I was 30.

      Here’s a study showing Blacks are pulled over 20% more often and searched more often than whites.

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/21/us/police-stops-race-stanford-study-trnd/index.html

      Under Ron O’s thesis, we should be acting to create a police state centered around surveillance of Blacks to suppress the crime rate. This study shows that’s what is happening now.

    2. Alan Miller

      Here might be a set of litmus tests for folk… how many times when you were ‘pulled over’?  Was it chance?  Was it a rightful/understandable stop?

      How many hours do you have?

  6. Bill Marshall

    The problem, Ron O, is that data is based on “observations”, and those can be influenced by the observer in two ways… sometimes to measure something is to influence it… and the one observing/measuring can have ‘bias’… like “proving”/substantiating their theory… basic caveats in ‘real science’…

    Not sure about ‘political’/’social’ “science”… I’ve seen many instances where social/political science folk have inherent bias in demonstrating “inherent bias”… go figure… I dropped a Socio class after the second day, in college, when the lecturor strongly demonstrated that… I aced a Poly Sci class (upper division) by telling truth, and yet 90% of the class “pooh-pooh”-ed me… the instructor realized I was talking facts/experiences (guess he found that ‘refreshing’)… the vast majority of the class had neither… only personal philosophy and personal theories… the class subject was ‘government’…

  7. Tia Will

    agree with the thoughts of a middle-aged black man that I saw on the news the other night, stating that those communities are primarily responsible for solving that problem. I don’t think anyone else is going to do it for them.”

    IMO, judging an individual on the basis of what may be true of a community in which they may not even reside because of their skin color is an obvious case of racial bias. Let’s take the example of a case right here in Davis. Many may remember the senior black gentleman who was stopped and questioned by police for nothing more than mowing his own lawn. Would someone like to tell me what community he belongs to that needs to “solve their own problem”? Does anyone believe this was not a case of racial bias? If so, on what basis? Have any of you been stopped and questioned for doing yard work at your own home?

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure that the guy they interviewed did live in the community he was speaking of.

      He was speaking of the serious crime in that area (something that seems to be consistently ignored on here), and stated that this was something that the community itself must address.  Obviously, it was not in Davis.  (Somewhere in high-crime area within Sacramento, as I recall – involving yet another murder.) Honestly, it seems that some folks pay no attention to that whatsoever.

      I strongly suspect that it’s true, in that waiting for others (e.g., the police, government, whatever) to solve the problems of a high-crime communities has never worked, and shows no sign of doing so now.  In fact, it appears that some folks are far more focused on what the police are doing, rather than what the criminals are doing.

      The BLM movement is not going to solve THOSE problems, which are far more common and widespread.

      For the most part, it does not impact most people who don’t live in those areas nearly as much.

      1. Ron Oertel

        This is something for which there is “plenty of data” for, as well.  Not much interpretation regarding possible “bias” needed, either.  Pretty easy to count dead bodies, victims of assaults, robberies, etc.

        I can post that type of data, but I suspect that it’s already painfully obvious. If not, just watch the local news in those areas. They will “spoon-feed it” to you, as David might put it. 😉

        Hopefully, Davis will remain comparatively safe. But, I wouldn’t totally count on that, and it appears that it may be changing as well (e.g., in regard to the concerns recently expressed to the council). Unfortunately, Davis is also not immune to outsiders (some of whom are up to no good).

      2. Tia Will

        For the most part, it does not impact most people who don’t live in those areas nearly as much.”

        Exactly. And that is a very good reason for not treating blacks in Davis, or similar communities as though they came from crime-ridden communities on the basis of the color of their skin. It is not that I am ignoring the existence of these high crime communities. It is that I do not think their existence should be used as a justification for racial bias here in Davis.

        1. Ron Oertel

          It does impact Davis, when outsiders (regardless of their skin color) look at Davis as an “easy mark”. Or, when folks can’t avoid traveling through high-risk areas.

          Pretty sure that there’s examples of that.

          Though I’m not familiar with the details, how many times did the police shoot the guy mowing his lawn? (Yes, that was sarcastic, but I would of course agree with your underlying comment.)

        2. Keith Olsen

          Yeah, mowing while black reared its head again.

          I was once stopped and questioned by two policeman walking my dog in the park while white.  They were looking for another suspect, little did I know I was a victim of racial bias.

      3. Richard McCann

        The BLM movement is not focused solely on police reform. That’s just what the media focuses on. Go to a BLM rally. You’ll hear about the importance of economic and social justice. That’s the source of our problem and that’s where the solution lies. But that requires action by our larger community–the Black community does not have the resources to do this by itself. And it’s idiotic to suggest that somehow the problem is the Black community’s fault–that’s just a typical “blame the victim” response.

        1. Ron Oertel

          The BLM movement is not focused solely on police reform. That’s just what the media focuses on. Go to a BLM rally. You’ll hear about the importance of economic and social justice. 

          Have you gone to one?  (Other than a “BLM-Light” rally in Davis?) Quite literally, “light” in terms of skin color and message, I suspect. Virtue-signaling at its finest?

          Regardless, we’ve heard talk about economic and social justice for decades.  And yet, problems persist.

          And it’s idiotic to suggest that somehow the problem is the Black community’s fault–that’s just a typical “blame the victim” response.

          Are you referring to being a victim of crime in one’s own community, by others from the same community?

          Regardless, I’m not hearing anyone “blaming” a group of people.  But based upon what I’ve seen, waiting for the government (or “other” groups of people) to solve problems rarely, if ever works.

          I’m not sure of the reasons that other groups (who also have limited resources) seem able to climb up out of it. Why doesn’t “systemic racism” impact them, to the same degree? (We can go over the history of various forms of racism throughout history, if that helps.)

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