Officials show favor for continuing Stanford racial profiling research in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A Stanford led study on racial profiling by the Oakland Police Department is on shaky ground. A City Council committee voted to end funding for the program earlier this week. Now, the entire City Council will consider the issue in their meeting on July 24.

Oakland's police chief, mayor, and others discussed racial profiling during a town hall meeting at Laney College Thursday night as the fate of an ongoing Stanford study on the topic remains up in the air.

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"What makes us become a target? Why are we the hunted?" asked Elam Hardin, a Concord resident.

In 2016, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt's study showed Oakland Police were four times more likely to search African American men compared to white men during a traffic stop.

"They have taught us how to think about the data. It's one thing to collect the data it's another to know how to ask the questions of the data," said Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.

Stanford researchers recommended 50 policy changes. OPD has implemented a majority of them including policy related to handcuffing and police chases.

"Over the last five years we believe that some of these policy changes are why we have reduced police use of force by 72 percent," said Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland.

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While use of force has dropped police stop data by race still shows large disparities. African Americans are far more likely to be stopped than any other group.

Hardin says it's going to take more than policy changes to fix racism in policing and in our country.

"What do you see when you see me? What do I see when I see you? How do we speak between one another? How can I speak to you in a manner when you feel comfortable and visa-versa? That dialogue needs to happen all of the time," said Hardin.

The full city council will take up the issue of renewing the Stanford contract at next week's meeting. The chief and mayor would like to see it extended for another year.

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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