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Berkeley Police Department Data Reveals Stark Racial Disparities

The Berkeley Police Department has finally released demographic data on police stops, as required by General Order B-4, which was passed in June 2014. Data on those stops in Berkeley from January 18, 2015 to August 12, 2015, disclosed in response to a Public Records Act (PRA) request, reveals a pattern of discriminatory conduct against African American and Latino civilians.

The data itself can be downloaded or viewed:

Microsoft Excel File
Google Drive

Totals and percentage calculations can be found at the bottom of the "Analyzed Data" Tab.

Summary of Data

Stops: Of 4658 civilians stopped by Berkeley police from January 26 through August 12 of this year for whom demographic statistics are available, 1710 were described as White, 1423 as African American, 543 as Hispanic/Latino. Though Black people constitute less than 8% of Berkeley’s population, they were 30.5% of those stopped by police; whites, comprising 60% of Berkeley, were 36.7% of those stopped.

Disposition: 38.1% of White people stopped by Berkeley police were eventually released without being either arrested or cited. However, 66.2% of African Americans were released without an arrest or citation, with Hispanics/Latinos close behind at 56.4%.

Searches: African Americans were 31% of civilians stopped, yet they were 57% of searches. Whites, on the other hand, were 37% of stops and only 14% of searches.

Unfortunately, the stop data does NOT include pedestrian stops as mandated under city policy.  The BPD needs to quickly clarify whether/how pedestrian stops are being reported. This information is not available in the information the BPD provided publicly in response to PRA, but is required by the General Order B-4.

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