Statement of Mary Dixon, Legislative Director American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois:
Today's vote extends the sunset of the collection of data under the Illinois Traffic Stop Statistical Study Act to address racial profiling on our state highways and roads. The mere requirement of data collection on race has served as a reminder to every officer to ask –am I using the same standard for everyone I stop? The data now collected –the race of a motorist, whether a search and what type was conducted and whether contraband was found - offers a rich reservoir of information to evaluate officers and to set up early intervention efforts where problems are evident.
A recent report concluded that more than 100 police departments stop twice as many minorities as their respective estimated driving population in that community; that African Americans and Hispanics are twice as likely as whites to be subject to a “consent” search used when police have no legal basis such as probable cause or pursuant to an arrest to search; and also that the contraband found was 60% higher after a search of whites vs. of African Americans or Hispanics.
These facts justify extending this important tool for law enforcement.
We are grateful for the continuing support and leadership of Representative Monique Davis, who passed the original measure working with then-State Senator Barack Obama. We also congratulate Senator Kwame Raoul for skillful leadership in moving the measure through the Senate and on to the Governor.
We urge Governor Quinn to quickly sign this important legislation.