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Study analyzes why Black people in Maine are more likely than white people to be arrested in traffic stops

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FILE - A California Highway Patrol officer stops a motorist who was suspected of speeding along Interstate 405 freeway on April 23, 2020, in Westminster, Calif. California law enforcement was more than twice as likely to use force against people they perceived as Black during vehicle and pedestrian stops in 2021, as compared to people believed to be white, according to a state report released Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Why are Black people three to four times more likely than white people to be arrested in Portland and South Portland, Maine? That question arises from new Northeastern research led by Jack McDevitt, emeritus professor of the practice, in partnership with the Roux Institute. McDevitt believes the study is a first step that can help resolve the issues of racial disparities—and offer far-reaching solutions that may be applied throughout Maine.

Inspired in part by the ongoing study of its largest metro area, Maine has tendered legislation that would require all agencies throughout the state to collect data on disparities in traffic enforcement. It all stems from a 2020 query by the South Portland police chief amid the national protests ignited by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

“He said, ‘I’m reading all this stuff about racial profiling, and I don’t know whether my officers are involved in it. Could you help me analyze my data?’” McDevitt recalls.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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