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Data: San Diego Police And Sheriff's Deputies Target Minorities

A San Diego County Sheriff's Department vehicle is parked in this undated photo.
Alexander Nguyen
A San Diego County Sheriff's Department vehicle is parked in this undated photo.
The San Diego Union-Tribune examined stops of drivers and pedestrians by San Diego law enforcement between July 2018 and December 2020. The data revealed that police and sheriff’s deputies disproportionately target minorities.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is publishing a three-part series called “Color of Authority,” which examines long-standing racial disparities that have plagued policing in San Diego County.

The data has been consistent for years. Studies have shown a bias in law enforcement interactions with communities of color.

Union-Tribune Watchdog reporters Lyndsay Winkley and Lauryn Schroeder analyzed nearly half a million stops made by San Diego police and sheriff’s deputies from July 2018 through December 2020. The data showed that the county’s two largest law enforcement agencies disproportionately target minorities for stops, searches, arrests and use of force.

RELATED: Report: Blacks Twice As Likely As Whites To Be Stopped By Police In San Diego

Key findings of the analysis revealed that nearly 20% of stops initiated by San Diego police officers involved Black people, even though they make up less than 6% of the city’s population; San Diego officers also were more likely to use force on minority groups, including Black and Latino people, than whites, while sheriff deputies were more likely to use force on Native Americans. Both departments searched Black and Native American people at higher rates than whites. San Diego police also arrested Native Americans, Blacks, Pacific Islanders and Latinos at higher rates than whites.

RELATED: Report: Blacks Twice As Likely As Whites To Be Stopped By Police In San Diego

Reporter Lyndsay Winkley joined Midday Edition on Monday to talk about the data analysis.

"What a lot of experts who study this data professionally say, is that it is difficult to prove bias without a shadow of a doubt within data, though not impossible. However, the burden of proof should be as equally placed on police departments, if not more so. But, beyond that, let's focus on addressing disparities. Let's not get caught in the weeds with where these disparities come from," Winkley told Midday Edition.