Black, Hispanic drivers more likely to be stopped, searched by Suffolk police: report

Suffolk County Police
Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Police in Suffolk County stopped and searched Black and Hispanic drivers more often than white drivers, according to a new report published Tuesday.

The 81-page report by the John Finn Institute for Public Safety found Black drivers were twice as likely to be subjected to a vehicle search and a search of their person. The report also found Black drivers were 84% more likely to be restrained and more than three times as likely to be subjected to physical force.

Hispanic drivers were 16% more likely to be searched and 16% more likely to be arrested, according to the report. Hispanic drivers were also 25% less likely to receive a warning and 32% more likely to be ticketed compared to white drivers.

Over 130,000 traffic stops by Suffolk police between March 2018 and March 2019 were analyzed as part of the report.

Suffolk police commissioned the report and supplied the data.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the disparities were “unacceptable” and that the county would work on improving the statistics.

“We are committed to working with the community, the Finn Institute and other expert law enforcement organizations to develop successful, evidence-based strategies to effectively reduce and ultimately eliminate disparities,” the county executive said Tuesday.

Bellone said there will be eight community forums to help with the change, along with training for officers.

Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart called the information “concerning” to the department.

“We do not want anybody to feel that they're not being treated fairly,” she said. “I mean really that's at the heart of all this that you, as a resident of this county, deserve to be treated fairly. So that's what we're drilling down on, that's what we're going to ensure that we take significant steps towards as a department.”