Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wants council to extend contract for Stanford racial profiling study

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Mayor Libby Schaaf insists a Stanford research contract designed to examine and reduce racial profiling by Oakland Police must be extended.

"This is critical work," Schaaf said. "We have to evolve policing so that it has legitimacy and it's seen as fair enforcement of law."

In 2016, a Stanford study led by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt found that Oakland police were four times more likely to search African-American men than white men during a traffic stop. African Americans were also more likely to be handcuffed.

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But rather than calling it "overt racism," the study claimed it was due to "implicit bias."

"It is important that we, the supposed leadership of this city, understand how humiliating it is to be stopped when there's no reason for you to be stopped," said Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks.

Earlier this week, Oakland's public safety committee, chaired by Brooks, voted to let the contract expire in August.

It's a decision that was basically overruled by the Rules Committee, which moved to put the contract before the full council next Tuesday.

Rashidah Grinage is with Oakland's Coalition for Police Accountability.
"There needs to be an end game," said Grinage. "There needs to be an implementation plan between what we know and to what we can improve."

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The Stanford study made 50 recommendations. OPD has implemented most of them and insists some progress has been made.

"What we call that is reducing the footprint," said Deputy Chief Leronne Armstrong. "We're stopping less people. Less people are having contact with law enforcement and we think that's a positive thing."

Armstrong says the Stanford contract is also vital to the department's ongoing efforts to comply with federal monitoring and a judge's order to collect and analyze stop data by race.

Schaaf, OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, and Stanford researcher Jennifer Eberhardt will all be attending a Town Hall meeting on public safety and equity Thursday night at the Laney College Theatre.

To look further into the Stanford research, visit this page.

For more recent stories, photos, and video on racial profiling incidents, visit this page.
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