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Coalition Pushes for Missouri Legislators to Improve Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops

Jadde Turk

Faith leaders and other organizations are responding to the Vehicle Stops Report issued by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office this week. According to the report, last year African American drivers were 75 percent more likely to be stopped by police on Missouri roads than whites. That is the highest rate recorded since data collection began in 2000.

Pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Cassandra Gould said local police systems are biased and dysfunctional.

“Every police car probably in the whole country says to protect and to serve. It seems that in the state of Missouri based on these numbers from the Attorney General it is not to protect all and it is certainly not to serve all,” she said.

Pastor Randle Mitchell of Urban Empowerment in Columbia said the coalition should ensure consequences for biased policing as well as diversity training.

“Classes are great. They can go to classes, but if they go to these classes and still things happen and they’re not held accountable they’re going to likely do those things again,” he said.

Organizations that have signed the coalition so far are: ACLU Missouri, Anti-Defamation League Missouri/Southern Illinois, Don’t Shoot Coalition, Empower Missouri, Missouri Faith Voices, Organization for Black Struggle, North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice, Missouri Civil Liberties Association, and the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.

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