St. Anthony releases 2017 traffic stop data

The St. Anthony Police Department on May 16 released data on traffic stops from 2017, the year following the killing of Philando Castile, a black man, by a St. Anthony officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights.

Of the drivers stopped by St. Anthony police last year, according to the report, 64 percent were white and 28 percent black.

St. Anthony police currently serve St. Anthony Village and Lauderdale. The traffic stop data released only pertains to those two communities, despite the fact that St. Anthony officers also patrolled Falcon Heights through the end of 2017. 

The fallout from Castile’s death ended the two-decades long police relationship between Falcon Heights and St. Anthony. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office now provides police service for Falcon Heights. The officer who shot Castile to death, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted last year of any criminal wrongdoing for the killing and was let go by the St. Anthony Police Department that same day.

St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth explained the Falcon Heights data omission, saying the report was forward-looking, focusing on cities under contract with the department into 2018. 

He said the police department has no plans of releasing 2017 traffic stop data in Falcon Heights, but the information is available should Falcon Heights, or another entity, make a data request. 

Of the 2,104 stops in St. Anthony and Lauderdale in 2017, 90 percent of the people pulled over were non-residents. The combined demographics of adjacent communities is 64 percent white, 17 percent black and 10 percent Asian. 

Many of the people stopped were Minneapolis and St. Paul residents. Adjacent communities also include Columbia Heights, Roseville, New Brighton and Falcon Heights. 

Blacks were cited instead of warned 51 percent of the time. Asians were cited 44 percent of the time and 43.9 percent of whites stopped were cited, according to the report.

The report says St. Anthony police recorded the perceived race of the driver, picking either white, black, Asian/Pacific islander, Native American/Alaskan naive or unknown. In accordance with FBI race codes, Hispanic/Latino is an ethnic indicator, not a race, and is classified as white. The report says that since October 2016, St. Anthony police have made it a policy of recording every traffic stop with a police report mandatory. 

As for the reasons people were stopped, both whites and blacks were stopped for moving violations more than half the time. Nearly three-quarters of the Asians pulled over were stopped for moving violations. 

The race with the highest percentage of investigative stops were blacks, who were stopped for investigative reasons 13 percent of the time. Nine percent of whites stopped were for investigative reasons, with 5 percent of Asians stopped for investigative purposes.

Blacks also had the highest percentage of traffic stops that resulted in a body search, and stops that included a vehicle search. Blacks had their body searched 5 percent of the time during all stops and their vehicle searched during 6 percent of stops. Two percent of white and Asian stops resulted in a body search and white and Asian stops where the vehicle was searched happened 2 and 3 percent of the time, respectively. 

By gender, 62 percent of the whites stopped were male, while 68 percent of blacks and 69 percent of Asians were male. 


— Solomon Gustavo

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