Black teen drivers in California searched at nearly 6 times rate of white teens: report

California law enforcement was more than twice as likely to use force against people they perceived as Black during vehicle and pedestrian stops in 2021, as compared to people believed to be white, according to a state report released Tuesday.

The annual report by California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board gathered data on vehicle and pedestrian stops by officers from 58 law enforcement agencies in 2021. The data includes what officers perceived to be the race, ethnicity, gender and disability status of people they stop so that the state can better identify and analyze bias in policing.

The 58 agencies — which includes the 23 largest departments in the state — collectively made more than 3.1 million vehicle and pedestrian stops in 2021. By April, all of California’s more than 400 law enforcement agencies must submit their data.

The data includes how officers perceive an individual’s race or gender, even if it’s different than how the person identifies, because the officer’s perception is what drives bias.

In more than 42% of the 3.1 million stops, the individual was perceived to be Hispanic or Latino, according to the report. More than 30% were perceived to be white and 15% were believed to be Black.

But law enforcement searched people who were perceived to be Black at 2.2 times the rate of people thought to be white, the report said. And teenagers 15 to 17 years who were perceived to be Black were searched at nearly six times the rate of teens believed to be white.