Does Fayetteville have racial traffic disparities?

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — For the first time, the Fayetteville Police Department released its 2022 traffic citations statistics and it’s raising questions about racial disparities.

According to Fayetteville Police data, in 2022 FPD wrote more than 23,204 traffic citations. Nearly 14,000 of those tickets were given to Black drivers, compared to 7,500 given to white drivers. Despite the disparities, Fayetteville Police Chief Kem Braden said officers are not targeting drivers based on race.

“Equal opportunity doesn’t always guarantee equal outcomes,” Chief Braden said.

According to the U.S. Census, Fayetteville’s racial makeup is 43 percent Black, and 41 percent are White, with 16 percent identifying themselves as a different ethnicity. The city’s traffic citation numbers have been under the microscope for years.

“So, I would say the most recent opportunity we had to take a review a deep dive into some of our traffic stop data was in 2020,” the chief said.

Research Triangle Institute International, a non-profit, reviewed the city’s traffic citations between 2017 and 2020. It results state, “this evidence does not suggest the existence of racial disproportionality.”

The research firm uses the Veil of Darkness approach, which his based on the logic that police officers are less capable of determining the race of motorist after dark than they are during daylight.

“As a police chief my concern is to make sure my officers are abiding by law, policy, the constitution and to ensure they are out there making constitutional stops on a regular basis,” Chief Braden said.

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