Local News

Study finds Spokane police stop disproportionate number of minorities

A new study from Eastern Washington University shows the Spokane Police Department is stopping a disproportionate number of minorities as it tries to fight crime.

The numbers from 2014 to 2016 suggest that statistically, Spokane police are more likely to stop a minority for questioning.

And that is not equal enforcement of the law.

Council members Breean Beggs and Ben Stuckart hired Dr. Ed Byrnes, an EWU professor, to crunch about 40,000 incidents where Spokane police officers, on their own initiative, contacted members of the community.

His research showed that African and Native Americans and Middle Easterners were significantly more likely to be stopped by police in comparison to other racial groups.

The good news is the study found that officers are not creating reasons to arrest people on the basis of their race.

However, stopping a disproportionate number of minorities, even for justified reasons, puts that population in greater peril with law enforcement.

These findings are skewed for a couple of reasons including that you will find more members of our minority community living in economically challenged areas that also, unfortunately, are some of our crime hot spots.
And that's where the cops spend what little free time they have.

Once of the council members who funded this study says this is not an indictment of the police department but a reflection of our society that needs to change our perceptions of minorities.