| With Pamplin Media Group
Latino drivers are charged for driving-related crimes at rates higher than their white counterparts. This visualization demonstrates the disparities.
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.”
Gov. Kate Brown has continually shown support for granting driving privileges regardless of immigration status. But as the state’s top elected leader, she was forced to defend a law discriminating against drivers based on immigration status.
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.