Black Lives Matter BCS Holds Protest At Bryan Police Department
The organization said BPD had a problem with racism during traffic stops. An independent analysis by the department disputes this claim.
BRYAN, Texas – Protesters took to the streets of Texas Avenue on Saturday outside the Bryan Police Department. Black Lives Matter BCS and members of the Neal Park Potluck organized the protest to shed light on what they said was racism within the Bryan Police Department.
The Black in Bryan 17/24/43 protest was organized to highlight two goals, according to information released on Friday about the protest. The group wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of the shooting of Johnnie Harris Jr. Harris, who is a black man, was fleeing from police when he was shot and killed by an officer on duty. He was unarmed and the policeman did not face charges in this case.
The group said its second goal was to highlight what it said was racism within the department, especially during traffic checks.
Organizers said the numbers in their protest name had significant meaning. They said the 17/24/43 number set represents 17% of Bryan’s population accounts for 24% of road stops by Bryan Police Department and 43% of searches during road stops by officers. They said Bryan’s officers searched blacks more than whites.
While this statistic in 2020 is accurate, an independent analysis conducted within the Bryan Police Department found the agency to be in compliance with Texas racial profiling law. The Bryan Police Department has hired racial profiling expert Dr Alex del Carmen over the past 12 years to analyze their service, specifically traffic stop data.
Dr del Carmen is Associate Dean and Professor of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts in the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies at Tarleton State University. He is viewed as an authority on race and crime with a focus on racial profiling within law enforcement. He is also currently Special Master for the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico and is Director of the Institute for Predictive Analysis of Criminal Justice.
According to this analysis, during the Texas Legislative Session of 2009, the Racial Profiling Act was amended and in 2017, the Sandra Bland Act was enacted. It requires any organization that appoints or employs peace officers to offer a training program on civil rights, racial sensitivity and cultural diversity, among other topics.
According to the report, all of Bryan’s police officers received training on the Texas racial profiling law and basic racial profiling training. The summary of the report states that Bryan Police Department policies prohibit racial profiling.
According to figures released in the 2020 report, there were 11,075 traffic stops by police officers in Bryan. Of those stops, 37% were White, 34% Hispanic and 27% Black.
In these cases, 886 searches were carried out. Of those searches, 400 were Black, 259 were Hispanics, and 225 were White. An interesting statistic to point out in the analysis is that of these searches for blacks, 65% were based on probable cause and 22% were consent searches. For Hispanics, 65% were based on probable cause and 25% were consent searches. For whites, 57% were based on probable cause and 35% were based on consent research.
Dr del Carmen, who has studied Bryan PD traffic stop data, said in a report submitted to Bryan City Council in February 2021, that the department is in full compliance with state law and has “the processes in place to deter racial profiling.”
“Report shows police department has incorporated a comprehensive racial profiling policy, currently offers information to the public on how to file a compliment or complaint, orders quarterly data audits to ensure validity and reliability , collects and commissions the analysis of level 2 data, and ensures that the practice of racial profiling is not tolerated, ”says del Carmen’s report.
The Bryan Police Department said its officers received additional training on del Carmen’s implicit bias in 2020. The report also stated that from January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2020, the Bryan Police Department had not received no official complaints for racial profiling. During this period, no member of its police force received a formal complaint of racial profiling.
In a Facebook post from Dan Kiniry, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest, he said he looked at statistics from del Carmen’s report, but said the report did not explain why the number of searches involving black people is higher than whites. “They don’t find more drugs in these searches for blacks than they do for whites, they’re just a lot more likely to search blacks, so a lot more blacks go to jail and jail,” his Facebook post said.
The report set out what had been found during the search. Of the 400 searches of blacks during Bryan PD roadside checks in 2020, 215 searches resulted in the discovery of contraband: 170 cases of drugs, four cases of weapons and 23 cases of alcohol. Of the 225 searches of whites during traffic stops at Bryan PD in 2020, 140 searches resulted in the discovery of contraband: 115 cases of drugs, one case of weapons and 10 cases of alcohol.
Organizers said they did not want to “condemn” the police department. They want the community to recognize what they say is a race issue within the department.