Law Enforcement Targeting of Racial/Ethnic Minorities

"Police departments deploy most patrol and narcotics police to certain neighborhoods, usually designated 'high crime.' These are disproportionately low-income, and disproportionately African American and Latino. It is in these neighborhoods where the police make most patrols, and where they stop and search the most vehicles and individuals, looking for 'contraband' of any type in order to make an arrest. The item that people in any neighborhood are most likely to possess, which can get them arrested, is a small amount of marijuana. In short, the arrests are ethnically- and racially-biased mainly because the police are systematically 'fishing' for arrests in only some neighborhoods, and methodically searching only some 'fish.'6 This produces what has been termed 'racism without racists.'"


Harry G. Levine, Jon B. Gettman, Loren Siegel. "Arresting Blacks for Marijuana in California: Possession Arrests, 2006-08.” Drug Policy Alliance, LA: October 2010, p. 13.