Today, the Chicago Sun-Times published an op-ed, “Police are stopping Black drivers for minor violations at record highs. Lawmakers should do something about it,” by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP lawyers Sean Hecker, Carmen Iguina González, Kate Harris, and Amit Jain.
The op-ed highlights the increasing, and troubling, trend of police officers disproportionately pulling over Black drivers in Illinois, often for minor, non-moving violations that are unrelated to public safety. The authors strongly urge the General Assembly to use data to counter false narratives concerning public safety and recommend enforcing low-level offenses by other means, including ticketing by mail. They also note that with inspiration from other jurisdictions, Illinois can reduce pretextual and racially disparate stops while continuing to keep roads safe. Read the op-ed here.
Hecker, Iguina González, Harris, and Jain also recently published an essay, “The Road to Driving Equality: A Blueprint for Cities to Reduce Traffic Stops,” in the New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy Quorum. Drawing on lessons from activists and advocates of police reform, the essay serves as a toolkit to enact meaningful change, including by prohibiting police from conducting traffic stops based solely on minor violations and creating non-police agencies for traffic enforcement. Read the essay here.