Reader Wants to Know Why WFPD Motorcycle Cops Only Pull Over Black Drivers

A reader sent me the following information and observations about the Wake Forest Police Department and traffic stops by the new motorcycle cops.

“On Rogers Rd just east of the school and before the Harris Teeter, I always see a motorcycle cop stopping folks.

The stops are frequent enough that I see one stop on the way to get my child and one on the way back practically every weekday that I do the route.

I noticed that I have never seen a white person being stopped: never. It is always a black person and generally in a humble car.

At first I believed it was coincidence and/or me having confirmation bias after a first impression driven by coincidence, but by now I have no doubt. It has been a while that I have been noticing it. I believe this may be a serious problem that needs a looking into ( even as it may be coincidence after all…)

Note that I’m white, and not a cop hater at all.

I figured that you seem to have connections w city officials, fire department and/or police, so I figured that you might be able to look into it.”

I did look into the issue and here is what I found out. The Town of Wake Forest offered up these facts.

“We pulled the statistics for all the traffic stops performed along Rogers Road by our two motorcycle patrol officers. The unit has only stopped vehicles along that road two days since the motorcycle patrol unit was introduced.

Both officers worked the area together on April 16 and stopped a total of two vehicles. On April 20 one of the motorcycle units teamed with a patrol car to work the area and stopped three vehicles. The officer in the patrol car, who is an African American, ran the radar and the motorcycle officer stopped the vehicles.

The following breakdown provides the date and time of each offense, along with the race and gender of the offender and the charge:

Motorcycle Officer 1

Total Traffic Stops – 4

  • Date – April 16, 2015
    o Time – 3:03pm
    o Race/Sex of Violator – Black / Male
    o Charge – Speeding 49 mph /35 mph School Zone

  • Date – April 20, 2015
    o Time – 2:50pm
    o Race/Sex of Violator – Other / Male (OTHER was listed on his driver’s license)
    o Charge – Speeding 55 mph /35 mph School Zone

  • Date – April 20, 2015
    o Time – 3:07pm
    o Race/Sex of Violator – Black / Female
    o Charge – Speeding 52 mph /35 mph School Zone

  • Date – April 20, 2015
    o Time – 2:38pm
    o Race/Sex of Violator – White / Male
    o Charge – Speeding 61 mph /35 mph School Zone

Motorcycle Officer 2

Total Traffic Stops – 1

  • Date – April 16, 2015
    o Time – 3:06pm
    o Race/Sex of Violator – Black / Male
    o Charge – Speeding 50 mph /35 mph School Zone”

One thing is for certain, Motorcycle Officer 1 is a productive sun of a gun.

Another random fact that someone might claim from the data above is the white dudes speed faster than others in a school zone. Seriously, 61 mph in a 35 mph school zone! But that would not be a statistically significant assumption. In fact that would be an incorrect statement when taken out of context.

I think before anyone could state a claim about racial unfairness in traffic stops we’d have to have a much larger pool of data to draw from and then see how it compared to the pool of all speeders in a given area and at a given time.

But thanks for allowing me to research and answer your question.

If you have a question you’d like to ask, just email me at [email protected]

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