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Blacks, Hispanics searched more often during traffic stops, report says

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TWC News: Blacks, Hispanics searched more often during traffic stops, report says
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Austin Police Monitor Margo Frasier released her office’s annual report on disciplinary action and complaints regarding the Austin Police Department in 2011.

The 93-page report shows a glaring contrast when it comes to who gets searched during police stops.

According to the report, one out of eight African-Americans were searched during a routine stop, along with one out of every 10 Hispanics.

Compare that to whites, and only one out of every 28 is searched. Austin's Police Chief Art Acevedo says the numbers don't paint a full picture in the fight against crime.

"Are they searches based on arrest? Are they searches based on probable cause?” Acevedo said. “Are they searches based on impounding a vehicle? So I think we will have to dig into it a little more.”

One local activist says the racial disparities inside the report showcase a harmful culture at APD.

"Everyone has fundamental civil liberties and rights, and they should not be infringed upon just because of what that officer's personal bias may be," Antonio Buehler with the Peaceful Streets Project said.

The number of public complaints against Austin police dropped in 2011 -- 717 people filed a complaint last year. In 2010, that number was 753.

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