Report finds “wide disparities” in Montgomery County arrests, traffic stops


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — A new report shows disparities when it comes to who is being stopped, ticketed and arrested by Montgomery County Police.

The 69-page report, Local Policing Data and Best Practices, was released by the Office of Legislative Oversight in late July. The report says the data collected showed “wide disparities in police interactions by race and ethnicity.”

African Americans make up 18 percent of Montgomery County residents, but they accounted for 55 percent of 2018 use of force incidents involving Montgomery County Police, along with 44 percent of the department’s 2017 arrests and 32 percent of traffic stops in 2018.

“Disparities by race and ethnicity that appear in these data do not prove that there is bias in policing. When I say bias, I mean people being treated differently based on their race, ethnicity or gender. But, they do indicate that further investigation is advisable,” said Natalia Carrisoza, a legislative analyst who worked on the report.

The OLO says the data for arrests and traffic stops includes residents and non-residents of the county who had interactions with Montgomery County police. Based on the data outlined in the report, 27 percent of Black adults experienced a traffic stop last year, compared 14 to 17 percent of White and Latinx adults.

The report found that last year, Black men were three times as likely to receive a traffic violation than a White man. For Latino men, they were twice as likely as White men. Police Chief Marcus Jones and Council member Will Jawando say the data is helpful, but needs additional context.

“Do an audit, in order for us to delve deeper into this analysis of traffic stop data that impacts our community and what that looks like,” said Jones.

“We need to get where OLO couldn’t go and get deeper with this report. Who was stopped? Why were they stopped? Where did it happen? It’s all things we need to know,” said Jawando.

The OLO made suggestions for the police department, like tracking data for street stops or “stop and frisk” encounters, surveying public perception of interactions with police, and including race and ethnicity information for all data reports.


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