The Charlottesville Police Department recently released data relating to the number of investigative detentions (otherwise known as stop-and-frisks) the department has made in 2016. The Police Department’s data revealed that 80% of the people involved in stop-and-frisks were African-American. These random stops started being recorded voluntarily in 2012 and local authorities’ latest statistics have drawn many questions.
The most recent census revealed that nearly 70% of Charlottesville residents identified as Caucasian, while only about 22% identified as African American. This discrepancy of the percentage of people who were involved in stop and frisks in relation to the total population demographics has sparked controversy, as many view the disproportionate attention as racially motivated.
In response to the questions raised by the community, City Councilor Wes Bellamy told NBC29 that he urges the people of Charlottesville to let the police do their job.
“There’s some mistrust right now, but I think we owe it to our police chief to at least give him a chance and an opportunity to get this ship righted. He’s doing a phenomenal job getting us there. Again, the numbers are too high – nobody would dispute that – but I do believe that we’re going in the right direction.”
First year student Michael Richardson is wary about such sentiments.
“It really puts things into perspective for me as an African American living in the Charlottesville community,” Richardson said. “Knowing that I could be seen as a potential target or threat is kind of scary for me even though I know that I have nothing to hide. I have not been the subject of racial profiling and I would like keep it that way, but it is discomforting to hear about all the people who have.”