San Diego State University Researchers Watered Down a Police Racial-Profiling Study

PACIFIC STANDARD, 2 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

When a long-awaited study on whether the San Diego Police Department engages in racial profiling finally dropped in late November, the results were unsurprising: It found that black and Hispanic drivers were more likely to be searched, though they were less likely to actually have contraband items, and that minority drivers were more likely to be subjected to field interviews.

When it came to the overarching question of whether officers and SDPD as a whole showed racial bias, however, San Diego State researchers were restrained: Though they found significant differences in the way minorities and white drivers were treated, researchers were careful to point out that such differences “are by no means unique to the SDPD” and that findings only “suggest” that implicit, or unconscious, bias “may exist” among officers.

But a draft copy of the study obtained by Voice of San Diego through public records requests was far more aggressive.

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