The city of Oakland is trying to address racial profiling concerns after a study found that the Oakland Police Department is four times more likely to search a vehicle belonging to a black man than a white man.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick held a public safety town hall meeting Thursday evening to talk about the study's findings and rebuilding trust between the community and police.
The mayor said Stanford University professor Jennifer Eberhardt and her team have been analyzing police stop data since 2014 as part of the Oakland Police Department's ongoing effort to modernize procedures and improve community-police relations by using data-driven analysis.
Schaaf said in a statement that the analysis is "the nation's most transparent effort to analyze racial-profiling stop data and then use the data to create new policies and training procedures to correct our racial bias."
One Oakland resident, Darius Simmons, voiced his concerns at the meeting, saying that he has been stopped by police several time because the color of his skin.
"You got the police saying you’re somebody else and they think you’re the same person. How do I match? You know we don’t even look alike,” Simmons said.
Some others believe the study needs more data as the Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee voted on Tuesday night not to extend Eberhardt's contract.
Schaaf said the vote "hurts all Oaklanders, and particularly African-American residents." She said, "[Dr. Eberhardt's] intensive work with our police department is critical if we want to build community-police trust and make Oakland an equitable city for all residents."
Police Chief Kirkpatrick agreed with the mayor.
"Stanford have taught us how to think about the data. It’s one thing to collect the data it’s another thing to ask questions of the data," Kirkpatrick said.
The city's councilwoman Desley Brooks said the reason Eberhardt's contract failed to get the vote is because the issue of racial profiling has not been addressed despite her contract.
“I believe Dr. Eberhardt has done some very good work with the city of Oakland but it wasn’t the original work we contracted for. We contracted to address racial disparities despite all the work she has done that issue has not been addressed," Brooks said Thursday.