09 27 2016
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The number of allegations of racial profiling connected with traffic stops doubled in 2008 over the previous year, but officers in all but a few cases were cleared of wrongdoing, according to a state report released Tuesday.
The state received 22 reports of allegations from three public agencies. Officers were exonerated in 19 of the cases. Three instances were said to have an unknown outcome.
There were 11 allegations of racial profiling reported to the state in 2007.
The Nebraska Crime Commission report offers a snapshot of the more than 502,000 traffic stops reported to the state in 2008, but it does not try to analyze the data or answer why disparities do or don't exist.
"It must be noted that any observed disparities are just that: disparities. In and of themselves, they do not prove bias or instances of racial profiling,'' the report said. "However, they can and should point to areas that agencies can look at more closely.''
In 2008, 193 agencies submitted data for the report. That's more than the 182 agencies that participated in 2007, but fewer than the 237 that submitted data in 2002. Each report must include the number of stops, the race or ethnicity of the person stopped, the nature of the alleged violation and whether a warning or citation was issued.
Nebraska police agencies are required to collect racial profiling data under 2001 legislation that banned such profiling by police officers.
Among its other findings, the report said there have been few changes in the frequency of searches during traffic stops going back to 2002. Since then, Hispanics and Native Americans were about twice as likely to be searched than the rest of the population.
In 2008, Hispanics were searched 8.9 percent of the time, while Native Americans were searched 6.6 percent of the time.
Blacks were more likely than people of other races to be arrested after a traffic stop in 2008, according to the report. They were arrested 13.5 percent of the time, while 7.4 percent of Hispanics stopped were arrested. Some 6.9 percent of Native Americans were arrested after a traffic stop.
Overall, 3.6 percent of traffic stops resulted in an arrest, down less than a percentage point from 2007.
Those arrests aren't necessarily limited to a traffic violation. The stop could involve an outstanding warrant or not having identification, for example, the report said.
Among the report's other findings for 2008:
The Nebraska State Patrol stopped Asian, black and Hispanic drivers at proportions lower than reflected in the census.
Lancaster County stopped black drivers at more than twice their proportion of the local population. Douglas County stopped them at about one and a half times their proportion of the local population and accounted for nearly 21 percent of stops.
Hispanics make up 31 percent of Dawson County's population. About 43 percent of stops in the county were of Hispanic drivers.

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