The Number of Times Philando Castile Was Pulled Over by Cops

July 10th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Footage of Philando Castile's death during a Wednesday night traffic stop ignited mass outrage about racial profiling and police brutality. But court records reported Saturday by CBS Minnesota suggested that Castile probably wasn't too surprised to get pulled over.

Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor, had been pulled over at least 52 times for traffic violations in Minnesota's Twin Cities and the surrounding areas since 2002, according to court records.

Police cited Castile for 86 violations, including misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor charges of speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving without proof of insurance, and driving without a muffler, CBS Minnesota reported. More than half of the alleged violations were dismissed.

The data suggested that Castile was either the worst driver in the world or a prime example of racial profiling.

There is a great deal of evidence to support the latter argument. Racial bias played a major role in traffic stops performed by Minnesota police officers, according to a statewide report published in 2003 by the Council on Crime and Justice and the Institute on Race and Poverty.

"Law enforcement officers stopped Black, Latino, and American Indian drivers at greater rates than white drivers, searched Blacks, Latinos, and American Indians at greater rates than white drivers, and found contraband as a result of searches of Blacks, Latinos, and American Indians at lower rates than in searches of white drivers," the report found. "Conversely, law enforcement officers stopped and searched white drivers at lower rates than drivers of color and found contraband in searches of white drivers at a greater rate than in searches of drivers of color."

An April 2016 report published by Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy and Research on traffic stops in Bloomfield, New Jersey — a predominately white area — revealed even more egregious racial bias. The report found that 80 percent of traffic tickets in the area were issued to Black and Latino drivers, according to Vice News.

Though racial profiling may be worse in certain areas than in others, it happens across the nation.

About 13 percent of Black drivers included in a 2011 Police-Public Contact Survey said they were stopped by police, compared to 10 percent of white drivers, the Bureau of Justice reported.

Only 2 percent of white drivers were searched in these traffic stops, while 6 percent of Black drivers and 7 percent of Latino drivers were searched, the survey added.

Traffic stops can place great financial strain on those who receive citations. Despite the dismissal of more than half of Castile's violations, he incurred more than $6,588 in fines and fees, according to the CBS report.

Some police chiefs are aware of the issue. “Police understand the concerns about choices made about who gets stopped and what happens when they get stopped,” Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, told CBS. The association comprises chiefs and sheriffs representing the largest cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

[h/t CBS Minnesota ]