Charlottesville Community Reacts to Released Stop and Frisk Numbers
People in the Charlottesville community are reacting to numbers released by the Charlottesville Police Department Monday on investigative detentions so far this year.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Police in the Charlottesville community say 80 percent of its stop and frisks so far in 2016 involved African-Americans. This has some outraged while others say give the police a chance.
The Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) started voluntarily tracking data on what it calls investigative detentions back in 2012. That’s better known as stop and frisk.
New data paints a picture that shows African-Americans are stopped much more often than whites. Charlottesville attorney Jeffrey Fogel, a longtime critic of CPD’s stop and frisk policy, now has even more data to back that up.
According to CDP’s presentation to Charlottesville City Council on Monday night, in 2016 officers made 45 stops for suspicious activity that didn't result in an immediate arrest. Of those stops, 36 involved African-Americans. Seven involved Caucasians, along with two people of unknown race. That's in a city of about 46,000 people.
Fogel was impressed by new Police Chief Al Thomas's presentation.
“He appears to care about this issue and trying to do something about it,” Fogel said.
Fogel, however, is still frustrated with the practice and doesn't buy the chief's explanation that people stopped don't file complaints because the officers are respectful during the encounters.
“It's because there's no trust in the system. The police department has instigated in reviewing complaints,” Fogel said.
City councilor Wes Bellamy says there is work to be done, but asks the community to give the police a chance.
“There's some mistrust right now, but I think we owe it to our police chief to at least give him a chance and an opportunity to get this ship righted. He's doing a phenomenal job getting us there. Again, the numbers are too high - nobody would dispute that - but I do believe that we're going in the right direction,” Bellamy said.
Councilor Bob Fenwick says he's glad more police are sharing more information, noting the disparate number of African-Americans stopped was what prompted the data collection in the first place.
“We want to know why, we want to know if it's not correct, and what we can do about it,” Fenwick said.
Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP President Rick Turner released a statement saying, “I think that the issue of racial profiling is a major, continuing issue here in Charlottesville and will only be abated with strong leadership and with deep structural changes.”
The Charlottesville Police Department says it will be updating those statistics as the year progresses.