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Massachusetts police pull over more minorities than whites, new data shows

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Earlier this year, Governor Maura Healey made a promise to root out systemic racism from “every corner of government.” But a sweeping investigation is shedding light on recurring racial discrepancies in traffic stops. 

The data for all Massachusetts traffic stops collected between 2014 and 2022 reveals that, on an average day, Black drivers are 2% more likely to be stopped by a police officer, up to 6% for Latino drivers and 3% for all minority drivers combined. 

The previously unreleased data is raising pressing questions, including ones about whether the data itself is skewed; Massachusetts police have consistently mislabeled men with Hispanic last names as white on traffic citations, which would complicate further efforts to address police bias. 

Matthew Ross, an associate professor of public policy and economics at Northeastern University, who assisted with the study’s analysis and conducted his own meta-analysis, joined All Things Considered host Arun Rath to discuss the findings. What follows is a lightly edited transcript.

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