On February 7, 2022, the Mass. Executive Office of Public Safety and Security released its first annual report on uniform citation data pursuant to the Hands Free Driving Law. The report analyzed 10 months of 2020 citation data for racial disparities and evidence of racial profiling in traffic stops, citations, arrests, and searches. The report was flawed and incomplete, and the EOPSS press release about the report’s findings was misleading, omitting any discussion of findings which showed evidence of pronounced racial disparities in post-stop outcomes.
Along with a number of other advocacy organizations, including Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Families for Justice as Healing, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services, we submitted public testimony to raise questions about the methodology and the findings in the report and the press release.
The Houston Institute has been involved in supporting broader data collection regarding traffic stops in Massachusetts for years. As part of a coalition of civil rights groups, we pushed for law to require that police record every stop of a motorist, although the Legislature ultimately limited the data to stops that end in a citation or written warning. We also continue to advocate in amicus briefs at the Supreme Judicial Court that pretextual stops are a vehicle for racial discrimination and must be abolished, in cases including Commonwealth v. Buckley, Commonwealth v. Long, Commonwealth v. Garner, and Commonwealth v. Daveiga.
Other submitted testimony:
- Citizens for Juvenile Justice
- Committee for Public Counsel Services | Arnie Stewart, Deputy Chief Counsel
- Committee for Public Counsel Services | Josh Raisler-Cohn, Roxbury Defenders & Race Equity Training Team
Read our testimony: