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Report: Mo. black drivers stopped more frequently

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Black motorists were more likely than others to be stopped by Missouri police last year.

An annual report released Wednesday by the attorney general found that black drivers were 69 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over in 2010.

“We’ve taken 11 readings now from 2000 until this past year, and the disparity index has dropped in 2 of those 11 years," Attorney General Chris Koster(D) said.  "This is one of the years that it dropped, but one has to be candid and recognize that the drop is very, very small.”

Police also were more likely to arrest black and Hispanic drivers and search their vehicles.

“But once that search occurs on the roadway, the finding of contraband is actually higher for white drivers than it is for Hispanics," Koster said.  "So it’s another indicator that I think we all need to be sensitive to and should cause people some concern.”

The statistics compare the racial demographics of Missouri's driving-age population to racial characteristics of motorists in the nearly 1.7 million traffic stops, 112,000 searches and 84,000 arrests last year.

Koster says the findings are not conclusive evidence of racial profiling in Missouri, but that they can be used to spur conversation between police and the communities they serve. 

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.