Black drivers in Missouri were almost twice as likely as white drivers to be stopped by police in 2018, according to the state attorney general’s annual traffic report published May 31, which found a small year-over-year increase.
The report released by the office of Attorney General Eric Schmitt said that the disparity in stop frequency between black and white drivers was 91%, based on their relative shares of the state’s population in the 2010 census. The report for 2017 found black motorists 85% more likely than white drivers to be stopped.
Jeanette Mott Oxford, the executive director of advocacy group Empower Missouri, said in a statement that the report “clearly shows that actions taken by police officers during stops correlate to race in a way that is truly alarming.”
In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory — the civil rights group’s first ever — for the state warning black travelers to exercise “extreme” caution in the state. The advisory cited the Missouri Attorney General’s report from that year, which at the time put the disparity in stops between blacks and whites at 75%.
The state’s attorney general has compiled the report, compelled by law, each year since 2000.
“As Attorney General, it’s my job to protect all six million Missourians, no matter race, gender, creed, or zipcode,” Schmitt said in a statement. "It’s my hope through continued dialogue with police officers and community leaders, and improvements to the collection of the data will lead to important conversations and improvements to the rights and protections of law enforcement and all citizens.”
Black Missourians represent about 11% of the state’s driving-age population, according to the report.