New study: Officers' first communication with Black drivers can determine traffic stop outcome
Eugenia Rho, an assistant professor of computer science at Virginia Tech, says Black drivers stopped by law enforcement officers are more likely to be handcuffed, searched and arrested during a traffic stop than any other demographic group.
“In this country, there’s a clear racial disparity in who is stopped by the police when driving said Rho, who leads the SAIL (Society + AI & Language) at Virginia Tech.
On Tuesday’s edition of “Closer Look, Professor Rho talked with show host Rose Scott about a traffic stop study that aims to shed light on how an officer’s first 45 words during a traffic stop with a Black driver can often determine the outcome of a traffic stop.
Rho further explained that words have power, and in most escalated stops, officers gave an order but did not provide a reason for the stop to the driver within the first 27 seconds.
“For Black male adults, the officers’ first 45 words function as a predictor of how they perceive the officer, what might happen next, as well as anxiety over whether force might be used on them,” said Rho.