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City leaders question new research into whether El Paso police racially profile drivers

By: Genevieve Curtis

El Paso, Texas-- El Paso police are preparing to turn in their racial profiling statistics to the state.
Some of the numbers have at least one city official calling for a second look .
In 2013, almost 20 percent of African American drivers who were stopped were subsequently searched, and city rep Emma Acosta wants to know why.
The 2013 report, which is compiled by the University of North Texas, actually found that more white drivers are stopped relative to El Pasos demographic, and Hispanics are stopped less in comparison to population.  
Of all traffic stops in 2013, almost 24 percent were white, but whites only account for 14 percent of the citys population. About 73 percent of the traffic stops were Hispanic, where 80 percent of the citys population is Hispanic. Around 3 percent of all traffic stops were African American, which is about even with citys demographic. Less than 1 percent of drivers were Asian, who account for slightly more than 1 percent of the population.
But out of those numbers, the report shows only 7 percent of white drivers who were stopped were subsequently searched compared to 12 percent of Hispanics and 19 percent of African Americans who were stopped and searched.
However, the independent report says EPPD is in compliance with state law and has been for many years.
Admittedly, the numbers dont account for the reason for the traffic stop, whether it was a traffic violation, criminal activity or the existence of an outstanding warrant. 
We are in full compliance with police department that we do not do any racial profiling. We've only had one complaint in 2013 and that was unfounded, said David Almonte, deputy city manager.
Even if the 19 percent is within state law, I still say its a high percentage, said Acosta.
Acosta requested a further breakdown of the numbers before the report turned over to the state.
The stops also do not distinguish between residents and non-residents.
Also, Texas drivers license do not identify race so the report cites that officers are forced to make "guesses" to determine an individuals ethnicity.  
The issue is expected to be brought back to council for further clarification before being submitted to the state.
The state analyzes the data and would report any irregularities. 



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