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Friday, June 18, 2021

Berkeley Moves Closer to Ending Police Traffic Stops

On Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a bundle of reforms that metropolis officers — together with Chief Andrew Greenwood of the Berkeley Police Department, who spoke on the particular meeting — mentioned have been potential within the close to time period, whereas they determine how to make broader modifications.

The reforms require metropolis officers to implement a ban on stopping drivers for offenses that aren’t security associated, corresponding to for damaged taillights and even rolling via a cease signal if nobody’s round, and would cease law enforcement officials from asking about parole and probation standing in most circumstances.

The reforms additionally embrace requiring written consent for searches in circumstances the place consent is important, and constructing in additional transparency measures in police interactions with members of the general public.

[Find the recommendations in more detail here.]

Experts have lengthy mentioned that site visitors stops, the most common interaction Americans have with the police, disproportionately have an effect on Black drivers. And law enforcement officials typically have broad discretion to pull people over in “pretext stops,” which means they may cease a driver for a minor infraction to allow them to ask different questions.

A report by the Center for Policing Equity discovered that Black persons are 6.5 instances extra doubtless than white individuals to be stopped by the Berkeley Police Department whereas driving and 4.5 instances extra doubtless to be stopped on foot.

Mr. Arreguín mentioned that directing officers to spend much less time stopping individuals for violations that don’t have an effect on broader public security and extra time investigating extra critical crimes will build belief and make the division run extra effectively.

Now, the town’s elected leaders should maintain officers accountable for performing on the modifications, mentioned Nathan Mizell, a scholar at U.C. Berkeley who has served on the town’s police assessment fee and on the mayor’s working group that developed the suggestions authorised on Tuesday.

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