Black People in D.C. Are Disproportionately Arrested, ACLU Report Finds

May 14, 2019
D.C. Police

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D.C. Police arrested a disproportionate number of black people from 2013 to 2017, according to a new report. About 86 percent of people arrested during that period were black.

The arrest information, provided to D.C.’s ACLU through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveals blacks were arrested at 10 times the rate of white people, a disparity the ACLU says “cannot be explained merely by a large concentration of MPD officers in predominantly black neighborhoods.”

WPGC has contacted MPD for comment.

The ACLU found that the disproportionate arrests were consistent for nonviolent offenses. For driving without a permit, possessing an open container of alcohol, publicly consuming marijuana, gambling and making excessive amounts of noise, blacks made up more than 75 percent of arrestees.

Blacks were also arrested more frequently for driving without a permit, a finding that the ACLU said indicated a racial disparity in traffic stops.

As a result of the report’s findings, the ACLU suggested the city council repeal criminal statutes when they disproportionately impact people who are in poverty and give more power to the Office of Police Complaints.  

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