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Study: State Police Target Minorities in Voluntary Searches

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A new study shows officers with the Illinois State Police target minorities in a program that spot checks motorists. What Northwestern University researchers found has some civil rights groups calling for the governor to end the program.

The study found the police ask to search the cars of minority drivers almost three times as often as those of white drivers. But here’s the twist. They find illegal contraband much more often in the cars of white drivers.

GROSSMAN: That is fishing.

Harvey Grossman is with the American Civil Liberities Union. He says for years the state police have been disproportionately asking to search the cars of minorities in routine traffic stops.

GROSSMAN: We are violating the basic social compact between the government and people.

Grossman says the police should quit asking to conduct searches during traffic stops and the governor should ban the practice. Neither the state police nor the governor’s office had an immediate comment.

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