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Carmel Police Ticket Black Drivers at Higher Rate
CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Court data obtained by I-Team 8 revealed the color of your skin may increase the probability that several central Indiana police departments will give you a traffic ticket.
I-Team 8 obtained data on all the traffic tickets issued last year where the officer noted the driver’s race. We got the data from the state court system. We shared the data from the 11 different departments with a statistician to make sure all data points were statistically significant. I-Team 8 analyzed the data and found the largest disparities between tickets issued to black people and to white people was in Carmel.
Tamise Cross got a ticket from Carmel police last January. She was driving on a suspended license, but that is not why she said she was pulled over.
“I just pretty much was flowing with the traffic and then he just came up behind me, pulled me over, asked me if I realized I was speeding, and I told him I didn’t realize it,” said Cross. “I didn’t get a speeding ticket, so it ended up not being anything having to do with speeding.”
Cross said she felt uncomfortable and like she was being targeted.
“You just never really as an African American, you don’t want to feel like you’re going to get pulled over,” Cross said. “You don’t know if you’ll be the next story or anything like that.”
Micah Hillsman found himself in a similar position. Last December, Carmel police ticketed him for driving on a suspended license.
Is Race An Issue?
“It could have been because I was African American,” Hillsman said when we asked why he was pulled over. “When I went to go to court, there were nothing but blacks there, like 97 percent blacks. Like I told you before, it was nothing but blacks.”
Hillsman is scared to go to Carmel because of the experiences he and his friends have had there.
Most people who live in the Indianapolis bedroom community of Carmel are white – 84% of the population. Black people are only 2.5% of Carmel’s population, but account for more than 33% of the traffic tickets.
We took these numbers to Carmel Chief of Police Jim Barlow.
“I think our officers are trained to look at violations, not individuals, and I truly believe that’s what occurs,” said Barlow.
Racial bias by Carmel police is not new. In 1996, a black Indiana State Police sergeant was pulled over while driving to his house in Carmel. Sgt. Smith sued the city of Carmel, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy organizations.
In 2016, the city of Carmel settled with a black man who also alleged racial profiling when he was stopped by Carmel police.
by: Stephanie Zepelin © 2019 Circle City Broadcasting I, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
The entire article was originally published on WISHTV.