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Giving Compass' Take:
• At The Marshall Project, Weihua Li demonstrates how racial disparities in arrests have persisted and even increased despite lower crime rates during coronavirus.
• What will it take to reform our justice system to create opportunities for marginalized communities? How can you work towards eliminating racial disparities in arrests in the United States?
As protesters clash with police across the country, they are venting not only their rage about the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, but more broadly their frustration with decades of racial inequality in the American criminal justice system.
These inequalities persisted during the coronavirus outbreak, a new Marshall Project analysis of arrest data found. Even as crime rates fell while much of the country was ordered to shelter in place, arrest data from five U.S. cities suggests racial disparities worsened in March and April. Across these cities, arrests of white people dropped 17 percent more than arrests of black people and 21 percent more than Hispanic people.
In March, the New York City Police Department made about 13,000 arrests, a 30-percent drop from the same month a year before. While most people in the city were confined to their homes, the changes in arrest practices did not affect residents of all races equally. White people experienced the largest decreases in arrests, whereas arrests of black and Hispanic people dropped at a much slower rate.
New York is not an outlier. The Marshall Project’s analysis found that arrests in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Tucson, Arizona, reflected similar patterns.
One factor that may influence the disparity of arrests is who was still on the street during quarantines and curfews. In New York City, while affluent white neighborhoods were emptying out as residents escaped the city, a recent report published by the comptroller showed that more than 70 percent of the city’s frontline workers are black, Hispanic or Asian.
Read the full article about racial disparities in arrests during COVID-19 by Weihua Li at The Marshall Project.