The 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, which went on to have a significant impact throughout Missouri and the rest of the country. This movement continues, with people of all races wondering if it has done any good. A recent report by the state attorney general seems to suggest that progress against racial profiling during traffic stops is not only not being made, but may be regressing.
Missouri's annual Vehicle Stops Report states that the disparity of black people being more likely than white people to be stopped in traffic rose from 75 percent last year to 85 percent in 2018. Additionally, 6.6 percent of blacks and 7.1 percent of Hispanics are arrested after Missouri traffic stops, as opposed to just 4.2 percent of whites. On the other hand, states ABC News, the studies showed that while white drivers are less likely to be searched by authorities than people of color, they are more likely to have contraband in their possession.
The ongoing evidence of racial profiling, combined with worries over unarmed people of color being harmed by law enforcement, prompted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to issue a travel advisory for blacks in Missouri. Additionally, a NAACP St. Louis County chapter spokesperson expressed concerns that the issue will make black groups less likely to come to the state to do business.
Unnecessary searches during traffic stops and other situations may complicate issues for people of color who are lawfully carrying firearms and have done nothing wrong.