Black People Exploited By Cities

Study finds how cities benefit from fining their Black residents.

Michael W. Sances of the University of Memphis and Hye Young Mou of Vanderbilt University, revealed a couple of rather nasty facts concerning issuing fines in predominately Black communities.

The duo collected information from more than 9,000 cities and found that cities with bigger African-American populations somehow rely more on fines and court fees to bring in revenue. According to The Atlanta Black Star,  the average collection was around $8 per person in cities that receive at least some revenue from citations. However, the price jumped to nearly $20 per person in cities with higher more Black people.

“What a lot of cities do is rely on a source of revenue that falls disproportionately on their black residents,” Sances said. “And when Blacks gain representation on the city council, this relationship gets a lot better. The situation does not become perfect — but it becomes alleviated to a great extent.”

The results of the research only prove the existing idea that African-Americans are unfairly targeted when it comes to ticketing. Last year, more than a dozen plaintiffs filed a lawsuit accusing 13 St. Louis County, Mo., towns with “extorting money” through traffic fines from low-income Black residents in “a deliberate and coordinated scheme … to fill [their] coffers.”

The researchers suggested that electing more Black people to local governments may serve as a potential solution to the disparity, they acknowledged that even an all-Black representation might not completely fix the problem.

“There’s a degree of influence there for sure,” Sances told the news site. “[But] we don’t assume city councils have perfect control over the police.”

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