Members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are alleging the Oakland Police Department are arresting a disproportionate number of black youth.
They have since requested that the local school district take a closer look at their policing system. This, they said this, needs to be done based on recent data from the Black Organizing Project, the ACLU of Northern California and the Public Counsel Law Center. The report has found that African American youth are more than two times as likely to be arrested as their non-black counterparts.
Some have suggested that more needs to be done to address racial disparities and they have asked that new protocols be put into place. Those would be targeted toward officers that work near and around area schools.
The ACLU is concerned that the Oakland Police Department lacks the proper supervision and accountability. This, they said, opens the door to a potential abuse of power.
The victims of that abuse are African American youth.
The recent report reportedly highlights arrests that took place between 2006 and 2012. During that time, nearly 75% of the juveniles arrested were black. When you take a closer look to the whole population demographic, in which less than 30% of residents are of African American dissent, that number is problematic.
Similar data was found when they took a closer look at arrests that took place on or near campuses.
The district, however, believes this is more due to socioeconomic conditions than it is related to racial profiling. The ACLU shouldn’t blame racial targeting, but should take the poverty factor into account.
A handful of law enforcement agencies also felt the report lacked the proper comparative arrest data. In San Francisco, for instance, officers are arresting far more African American youth than the Oakland PD. To say that local police are racially biased is simply not true. The allegation of blatant racism is unfair.
The ACLU disagrees. They feel that school districts should allocate less funding toward campus police and should instead re-divert those funds to counselors. More officers mean more arrests, they said, and this will only succeed in launching more at-risk youth into the criminal justice system.
The Department of Justice has said that throughout California, African Americans are arrested at about 2.5 times the rate of any other demographic. In San Francisco, about 50% off the youths arrested were identified as black. City wide, they make up less than 10% of the total population.