Citing racial disparity, Mpls drivers seek moratorium on certain traffic stops

Some drivers pulled over by Minneapolis police say what was frustration has now turned into fear.

In a meeting Wednesday, a group voiced concerns about traffic stops for equipment violations - a blinker, a brake light, a headlight. MPD data shows African Americans are more likely to be pulled over for equipment violations, and some black drivers say that has led to harassment by police.

“They stopped me for no apparent reason, and then when I go to the precinct to complain, I get charged with trespassing by the same cop I am complaining about,"

"And the interactions are gruff. They’re not respectful, they’re a rough type of interaction, and I can sense that at any moment I could lose my life. I can sense an impending potential for death.

So, the group is asking for a moratorium that would keep police from pulling them over for equipment violations.

“They’re not gonna protect me and you’re not gonna protect me. I have no other recourse but to protect myself. 

Chief Arradondo said he needs a lot more information before considering any moratorium.  

“To me, to simply pull off a tool I think I need to engage more of our community. I think I need to listen more, learn more, be educated and make sure in the ultimate I’m doing what’s right,” Chief Arradondo said.

The chief also said there is a big benefit to traffic stops - they actually end up decreasing some violent crime.

“In the past two years in Minneapolis, particularly the fourth precinct, we have seen through our efforts of our group, our gang enforcement activity that has been conducting a lot of the traffic enforcement in north Minneapolis, we have seen a two-year decrease in the victims of gunshot violence in Minneapolis, and particularly north Minneapolis,” he said.

At least one woman said she feels a moratorium is not the answer.

“They are recovering guns, and I thank God that they are. I don’t know where we’re going with this, but for me this is a safety issue,” she said.