| With Pamplin Media Group
Latino drivers are charged for driving-related crimes at rates higher than their white counterparts. This visualization demonstrates the disparities.
Jaime Miranda saw business cut in half at M&M Marketplace, his Latino-themed bazaar in Hillsboro, after a 2008 state law required applicants to prove they are in the country legally to get a license. One Woodburn grocery owner, Ezequiel Escobedo, who runs a Woodburn grocery, launched a delivery service for Latino clients who don’t have a license in response to the law.
Latino residents in Oregon are charged with failing to carry a license at rates more than eight times the rate of whites, the probability of which is “so much smaller than being struck by lightning,” said criminologist Mark G. Harmon. Their real crime? Some say it’s “driving while brown.”
The Chief: Ron Louie, retired chief of the Hillsboro Police Department, was the state’s first official to collect data about the race and ethnicity of drivers his officers stopped. Other agencies, he said, were “frightened by the scrutiny of the numbers.”
Fewer than 1-in-20 law enforcement agencies in Oregon collect and report detailed data on the people they stop. This month, legislators will begin discussions on House Bill 2355, which, among other things, would force police to collect “stop data.” If the bill passes, Oregon will join 19 other states, including California, in using stop data to identify possible racial profiling by police.
A project in Oregon parsed more than 5.5 million court records to find that equal justice remains an elusive goal for the state’s more than 650,000 black and Latino residents. Upon hearing the findings, the state senate’s president, Peter Courtney, called them “alarming” while Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who is leading legislative reforms on police profiling, called it “embarrassing” that reporters were first to analyze the state’s data.