Is there racial
profiling for drivers in the Cleveland Metro area?
By Arooj Ashraf, Correspondent for La Prensa
leaders and concerned residents gathered at Lil Africa
Village on 6816 Superior Ave. to discuss the State of the
City on Feb. 1, 2013. They brought cans of food to add to
the communion pot of soup as it simmered in the kitchen along
with soul food.
As the aroma warmed the
room the discussion focused on whether or not ticketing
practices in the City of Cleveland are tainted with racial
profiling. The Village Soup event co-sponsored by the
Audacity of H.O.P.E.offers a place to share grievances and
create action plans to curb injustice in the city through
education and advocacy.
Cleveland State University’s
Urban Studies Professor Dr. Ronnie Dunn shared his
research studies documenting the patterns of ticketing in four
areas: Cleveland, Shaker Heights, Brookpark, and Westlake. He
published his findings and conclusions in the book:
“Racial Profiling, Causes and Consequences.” He highlighted the
most frequently issued violations in each area and how they were
issued according to race. The most common ticket was given to
speeders in all four suburbs with Whites being issued the most.
Dr. Dunn said speeding is the most obvious violation whereas
others that include driving without a speed belt, without
license or insurance or under suspension are rolling tickets
where the officers run the plate information before indicating
the vehicle stop. These violations were issued in
disproportionally higher numbers to the Black drivers.
The disparities were higher in predominantly black communities,
with nearly 92 percent of black drivers being cited for driving
under suspension and 83 percent for driving without a seatbelt.
Dr. Dunn said the statistical probability the results when
studied in the racial context are impossible and indicate a
culture of profiling based on race. Such profiling reinforces
stereotypes and justifies segregation, he said. “If Cleveland is
going to be a city that welcomes diverse people who will then be
subjected to these types of practices then it will be a
deterrent,” he said.
from Immigrant Support Network
Dunn, CSU Urban Studies Professor
Griot Y--Von, Founder of the
Audacity of H.O.P.E. Foundation
He said the consequences of ticketing, non-moving violations and
license suspensions create a vicious cycle. “The fines are high;
if you fight the ticket you are looking at loss of income,
taking time off from work, the court fees, and other
miscellaneous expenses.” A driver convicted for SOL (Suspension
of Drivers License) also receives 6 points on his driving
record, must carry “high risk” insurance (SR-22 Bond) for 3
years, and must pay a high reinstatement fee to the BMV (Bureau
of Motor Vehicles).
Dr. Dunn also pointed out that the loss of driving privileges of
a certain population create further disadvantage when they are
low-skilled and the jobs available to them are in the suburbs.
He said the Ohio laws also include 17 non-driving violations
which includes suspension of license for failure to pay child
support. He said the resistance to address the issues and openly
acknowledge there is a problem is corrosive and said creating
awareness and educating people is an important step.