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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Police release racial profiling report

Officials with Texas A&M’s University Police Department say officers do not conduct racial profiling during stops, but some minority students remain skeptical despite the exonerating results cited in the department’s annual racial profiling report released in March.
“The policy of any police department on racial profiling is absolutely no,” said Bob Wiatt, director of the UPD. “It’s forbidden.”
The College Station Police Department also submitted its racial profiling report to the City Council last week. Both reports detail the racial demographics of traffic stops and arrests for 2002.
According to the UPD report, whites made up 83 percent of the total traffic stops for the year while Asians made up 7 percent, blacks made up 5 percent and Hispanics 5 percent.
Compared to the demographics of the student population provided by the A&M Office of Institutional Studies and Planning, whites, and Asians are pulled over on campus more frequently than other races. Whites currently make up 76 percent of the student population and Asians comprise only 3 percent.
The CSPD reported similar statistics, citing whites as the most frequently stopped ethnicity, followed by black and Hispanic drivers. In proportion to the percentage of College Station households with access to a vehicle, whites and blacks were overrepresented in police stops, while Hispanics and Asians were underrepresented.
Sophia Lecky, a junior information and operations management major, said that while the reports seemed to show a fair ethnic representation by the UPD, they did not prove that racial profiling is not a problem in the area.
“These reports can’t be the final word,” Lecky said. “This doesn’t mean that discrimination does not exist.”
Wiatt said complaints of racial discrimination in the UPD are uncommon.
“Over a period of years, we have had one or two complaints, but very few overall,” he said. “We generally have video cameras that refute any accusations.”
Wiatt advised students with any complaint of racial discrimination to “take it to court.”
The CSPD reported two complaints in 2002 of officers violating the department’s profiling policy, but neither complaint was found to be valid.
“If black people are driving around with guns and crack, I want you to pull them over,” Lecky said. “But if not, don’t pull me over just because I’m black.”
Carla Kwarteng, a junior accounting major and president of the A&M chapter of the NAACP, said she knows people who feel they have been discriminated against because of their ethnicity.
“If it has affected even one person, then it is definitely a problem,” she said.
Kwarteng said the problem with racial profiling reports was that they can give a false sense of racial equity.
“It gives a sense of complacency, a sense of nothing going on,” she said. “But we know it’s a problem because we hear stories about it every day.”
Article 2, section 132 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures requires all Texas police forces, including UPD, to submit a racial profiling report annually to the Department of Public Safety.

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