Los Angeles police officers search blacks and Latinos far more often than whites during traffic stops, even though whites are more likely to be found with illegal items, a Times analysis has found.
The analysis, the first in a decade to calculate racial breakdowns of searches and other actions by LAPD officers after they pull over vehicles, comes amid growing nationwide scrutiny over racial disparities in policing.
The Times obtained the data used in its analysis under a new California law targeting racial profiling that requires the LAPD and other agencies to record detailed information about every traffic stop.
The Times analysis found that across the city, 24% of black drivers and passengers were searched, compared with 16% of Latinos and 5% of whites, during a recent 10-month period.
That means a black person in a vehicle was more than four times as likely to be searched by police as a white person, and a Latino was three times as likely.Yet whites were found with drugs, weapons or other contraband in 20% of searches, compared with 17% for blacks and 16% for Latinos. The totals include both searches of the vehicles and pat-down searches of the occupants.