Four groups – the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Texas Harm Reduction Alliance, Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law and Grassroots Leadership – analyzed low-level drug arrests in 2017 and 2018. Their data showed even though African Americans make up 8.9% of the county's population, they account for 29.4% of drug possession arrests.
Last week, the City released a separate report that showed Austin police are pulling over and arresting people of color at disproportionally higher rates than white drivers. City leaders told KVUE that data confirmed a problem the City has been trying to fix.
"We needed the data to see really the extent of these disparities ... and what we're facing in Austin and how we need to address it," Farah Muscadin, director of the Office of Police Oversight, said.
Last month, the City directed Austin police to stop arresting and ticketing people for low-level marijuana crimes. But there is still a lot of concern about racism at APD. The City is looking into allegations of some top officers within the department making racist remarks and using slurs.
And the Office of Police Oversight is looking for volunteers to serve on the new Community Police Review Commission. It's taking applications until Feb. 29.
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