Recently, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster released the annual traffic stop data compiled under Missouri law. The report showed that African-Americans and Hispanics have a much greater chance of being stopped and searched during “random” traffic stops. This follows the well-publicized lawsuit by a former police chief in Ladue who claimed that he had marching orders from city officials to pull over African Americans as often as possible.
The Executive Director of MIRA, Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates (Vanessa Crawford), our local chapter president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (Ken Schmitt) and Interfaith Committee on Latin America Executive Director (Marilyn Lorenz) wrote an op-ed this week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which shows that Hispanics are nearly 8 times more likely to be searched in St. Ann. Half of St. Ann traffic stops involving Hispanics result in an arrest. The St. Ann traffic court is notorious for the number of Hispanics processed through that municipal court system. This situation must change and its going to take political pressure to make that happen.
As a board member of MIRA and a member of AILA, I am very proud of the position taken by my colleagues in this op-ed and I urger our readers to get involved in this important issue.