Report: Blacks, Latinos More Likely To Lose License Over Unpaid Tickets
If anyone thought Ferguson. Mo., was then only place in America with a tickets-to-jail pipeline (and maybe nobody did), a new Los Angeles Times report sets them straight. It seems there’s not only a pipeline, but that African Americans and Latinos are more likely than others to lose their driver’s license because of unpaid tickets – and then to be arrested for driving with suspended licenses.
The LAT explains that the “… Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, examined U.S. Census Bureau data, records from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and information from 15 police and sheriff’s departments in the state to document by race the impact of unpaid traffic fines. Part of the report says that “… individuals who cannot afford to pay an infraction citation are being arrested, jailed and prosecuted, and are losing their licenses and their livelihoods,” the report said. “The communities impacted by these policies are disproportionately communities of color.”
A few items from the report:
— In Los Angeles County, black people make up 9.2% of the population but accounted for 33% of those arrested for driving with a suspended license from September 2013 to September 2015, while whites represent 26.8% the county but accounted for only 14.8% of those arrested at that time for driving with a suspended license.
— During that time, 85% of 20,000 people arrested by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for driving with suspended licenses were black and Latino, according to the report.
— In San Francisco, 5.8% of the population is black, but 48.7% of those arrested for traffic warrants in 2014 and 2015 were African American. Whites make up 41.2% of the city’s population but accounted for only 22.7% of the arrests, according to the lawyers’ group.