The ACLU of Massachusetts has accused Boston Police of being institutionally racist.
The civil liberties group this week released a report detailing more than 200,000 encounters between Boston Police and civilians during a three year span — between 2007 and 2010. The ACLU states police targeted blacks in 63 percent of such encounters, even though blacks make up less than a quarter of the city’s population.
That racial disparity, according to the ACLU, “cannot be explained away by BPD efforts to target crime.”
Boston Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The group also found blacks were “more likely than whites to be subjected to repeat police civilian encounters and to be frisked or searched, even after controlling for civilians’ alleged gang involvement and history of prior arrest.”
“The bottom line is that race was a significant factor during the BPD’s stop-and-frisk practices,” read a summary of the ACLU’s report.
Michael Curry, president of the Boston NAACP, said the ACLU’s “underscores our need to be vigilant in every city across this country, including Boston, to stop bad, racially motivated policing that doesn’t deter crime.”
Curry reiterated his organization’s call to make diversity training mandatory for all Boston police, “so that the city’s efforts to protect and serve is not tainted by racial prejudices.”
“We have a great opportunity in the wake of the ACLU’s report to acknowledge the problem and begin to eradicate the racial bias that makes primarily black and brown men the targets of any investigation,” said Curry.
Curry suggested the numbers in the report were the result of “flawed stop and frisk policing policies” that left too much discretion to police officers.
“While we hare a desire to stop and prevent crime by the few, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the majority of law abiding citizens,” he said.