(Springfield, Mo.) An annual report from the Missouri General's office shows black drivers are 85% more likely to be pulled over in the Show Me State has local minority leaders speaking out.
"This is our law enforcement. We should feel comfortable and safe when we are pulled over by them but unfortunately when you’re a person of color you do not," Cheryl Clay, President, Springfield's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Chapter.
Nearly four years after protests in Ferguson raised concerns about racial profiling of blacks in Missouri, figures show from Attorney Josh Hawley's office that African American drivers are 85% more likely to be pulled over than whites.
"This is nothing new. This is always gone on in our state that people of color our more apt to be pulled over and stopped because of personal bias and stereotypes held by our law enforcement officers."
Clay believes racial profiling is a problem that needs to be addressed by the state.
"Do I think there’s some officers out there across our state that are seeing people of color as a threat? Yes I do. But I also think that’s also our nation’s history and our nation’s problem."
NAACP officials say their recent travel advisory for Missouri is in light of police shootings and subject of a warning about discrimination and racist attacks.
"This attorney general’s report is one of the root cause of that travel advisory because it has been our practice and what we have found that across our state people of color are more apt to be stopped and searched."
However, Clay says Springfield's Police Chief Paul Williams is taking appropriate steps to combat racial profiling. She says these actions should be mirrored throughout the state.
"If they were being honest and a realistic training to recognize that everyone has bias and stereotypes and in this type of job you need to be trained on how to recognize your bias and move on and act accordingly."
No matter what city the ultimate goal is to bridge the gap, and allow police and citizens to come together. Local leaders like Clay feel, it can start right here in Missouri if people do their part and speak up.
"We have to have everyone to put some skin in the game. If they feel like they’ve have been stopped for no reason then they need to file a complaint and until we do that nothing is going to change."
Click Here for the entire 2017 Missouri Vehicle Stops report on how your police department compared.