State Police Report Finds Racial Disparity In MSP Traffic Stops

An independent study of Michigan State Police traffic stops in 2020 has found racial disparities in the number of stops and their outcomes. Michigan State University’s Dr. Scott Wolfe was part of the study and said during a state police news conference Wednesday the information applies to most MSP districts.

“We found that traffic stops conducted during the daylight were more likely to involve an African American driver than those conducted at night,” Wolfe said. “Importantly, no such disparity was found with other racial or ethnic groups.”

Wolfe said arrests and searches were more likely when the person pulled over was Black. MSP Director Col. Joseph Gasper said it’s obvious “meaningful action” is needed. He announced a five point plan.

“We will hire an independent expert to review MSP policies and make recommendations for systemic changes that will address racial disparities,” Gasper said. “Next, we will launch a statewide listening and engagement effort in partnership with our Bridges to Blue Citizens Advisory Council.”

Gasper said the whole state can work together. The plan also involves making up to date data available to troopers so they can make adjustments, more cultural awareness training, and body cams for all troopers.