Report: Atherton Cops Pull Over, Cite Latinos Disproportionately

96 percent of driving without a license citations given to Latinos in Atherton.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Aug 15, 2013  |  Updated 11:55 AM PDT
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NBC 6 South Florida

Atherton cops are issuing citations to Latinos at a rate higher than other races.

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There are few Latinos in tiny and tony Atherton. But despite being 4 percent of the population of residents, Latinos make up 96 percent of the drivers pulled over and cited for driving without a license, according to data compiled by a local resident.

In the last six months, 182 citations have been issued for driving without a license, 96 percent of them to people with Latino last names, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

And 100 of the 175 people cited were given misdemeanors, rather than less-severe infractions, according to Kent Brewster, a local resident who has been tracking the statistics.

Atherton police don't deny the statistics but do bristle at the suggestion that the numbers mean they are racially-profiling.

Police say probable cause is needed before they can effect a traffic stop, and "we don't know who it is before we stop them," according to police Lt. Joe Wade.

Latinos may drive without licenses more often because it's harder for undocumented workers to get licenses, the newspaper reported.

The driving without a license citations are a small portion of the 2,317 citations issued during the six-month time period, according to police.

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