Philadelphia to become first major US city to ban police from stopping drivers for low-level traffic violations

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  one month ago  •  34 comments

By:   Maya Brown and Emma Tucker, CNN 20 hrs ago (MSN)

Philadelphia to become first major US city to ban police from stopping drivers for low-level traffic violations
When Philadelphia's mayor signs landmark legislation as soon as this week, the city will become the first major US city to ban police from stopping drivers for low-level traffic violations -- stops that studies show target Black drivers at disproportionately higher rates.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



When Philadelphia's mayor signs landmark legislation as soon as this week, the city will become the first major US city to ban police from stopping drivers for low-level traffic violations -- stops that studies show target Black drivers at disproportionately higher rates.

The Driving Equality Bill, passed 14-2 by the city council on October 14, categorizes certain motor vehicle code violations as "primary violations," which allow officers to pull people over in the name of public safety, and "secondary violations" that don't meet the criteria for a lawful traffic stop, according to the office of Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, who authored the bill.

The bill will take effect 120 days after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signs it into law, which his office said he intends to do.

While Philadelphia is the largest city to ban such traffic stops, some local and state governments have also enacted similar policies.

In September, Ramsey County, Minnesota, announced prosecutors will no longer pursue cases against people who are unfairly targeted and detained during non-public safety stops. The new policy comes five years after former St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile seven times during a traffic stop in 2016 over a broken tail light, prosecutors said.

In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey announced in August that the city's police officers will no longer conduct pretextual traffic stops for low-level offenses as part of his 2022 budget proposal. Officers are prohibited from making pretextual stops for "expired tabs, an item dangling from a mirror, or an expired license," according to a city news release.

In March, Virginia became the first state to prohibit these stops within three months of the bill's introduction. Law enforcement officers cannot lawfully stop motorists for driving without a light illuminating a license plate, without brake lights or a high mount stop light, and with certain sun-shading materials and tinting films, according to the legislation.

"The bill also provides that no law-enforcement officer may lawfully stop, search, or seize any person, place, or thing solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana," the Virginia bill states.

The police department is on board


Dennis Jay Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told CNN that there are "risks in both directions" in allowing police to make traffic stops for minor violations and prohibiting them altogether.

"The danger of not eliminating them is that it drives a wedge between the public and the police," Kenney said. "If you're tired of driving while Black, you're less likely to cooperate during these stops."

"The risk in the other direction, in the case of traffic safety, is that we prohibit some behavior and require you to have taillights because it's safer, people can more readily stop behind you. So, by saying these violations no longer matter, then to the extent that they impact public safety, then public safety will be negatively impacted," Kenney added.

Kenney said Philadelphia has decided that pretextual stops are disruptive and the risk to the relationship between the police and the community "is greater than the likely pay off of getting a bad guy every now and then."

Once the Driving Equality Bill is signed into law, the Philadelphia police will work on directive amendments and necessary training. Max Weisman, a spokesperson for Councilmember Thomas, said the police department has exhibited support for the bill and has negotiated in "good faith."

The bill was informed by the development of the Bailey pilot program, a result of the 2011 settlement agreement of Bailey v. City of Philadelphia, which requires the police department to collect data on all stop-and-frisks and store it in an electronic database. The lawsuit alleged that thousands of people in Philadelphia are illegally stopped, frisked and detained by police officers.

Low-level offenses such as registration plate and bumper issues will now be categorized as secondary offenses, which bar officers from conducting traffic stops, unless there is an additional high-level safety violation, according to the Philadelphia police department.

"We believe this is a fair and balanced approach to addressing racial disparity without compromising public safety," the department said in a statement. "This modified enforcement model for car stops furthers the Department's priority of addressing the issue of racial disparity in the Department's investigative stops and complements the Department's efforts to address these same issues in pedestrian stops."

'A traffic stop is a rite of passage'


Councilmember Thomas introduced the bill with nine cosponsors in October 2020, aiming to address "the tension between police and community members by removing negative interactions," according to his office.

"I am humbled by every person who told my office of the humiliation and trauma experienced in some of these traffic stops," Thomas said. "To many people who look like me, a traffic stop is a rite of passage -- we pick out cars, we determine routes, we plan our social interactions around the fact that it is likely that we will be pulled over by police."

The legislation is also part of a package including his companion bill that mandates a public, searchable database of traffic stops that will be published monthly. The police department will be required to compile digital records of which officers conduct traffic stops, who was stopped, the reason for the stop, and other data that will be included in the database.

"These bills end the traffic stops that promote discrimination while keeping the traffic stops that promote public safety," his office said in a press release. "This approach seeks to redirect police time and resources towards keeping Philadelphians safe while removing negative interactions that widen the divide and perpetuate mistrust."

The new legislation does not change the motor vehicle code that drivers are legally required to follow, but those who commit minor infractions now only receive a warning or citation by mail.

The bill only removes the enforcement mechanism of a traffic stop, according to Weisman. It designates seven secondary violations that prohibit traffic stops, including bumper issues, minor obstructions, broken lights, and a license plate that is not visible or clearly displayed.

Minor infractions such as broken taillights, the smell of marijuana, improperly displayed registration stickers or hanging items from a car's rearview mirror have been criticized as a pretext for racially motivated traffic stops.

Black drivers, which comprise 48% of Philadelphia's population, accounted for 72% of the nearly 310,000 traffic stops by police officers between October 2018 and September 2019, according to data from the Defender Association of Philadelphia. As of this year, Black drivers account for 67% of stops compared to just 12% of White drivers, the data shows.

Alan Tauber, the acting chief defender for the Defender Association for Philadelphia, said the legislation is a "great first step to building more trust between our police and communities of color," adding, "We're hopeful that passage of the Driving Equality Bill is just the beginning of informed and meaningful conversations about positive changes to our justice system that will benefit all Philadelphians."


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Texan1211    one month ago

What other laws will be ignored because they offend some people?

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
1.1  Kathleen  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago

I hope they don't do that on 495. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago

another step forward in removing racist cops from the force.

 
 
 
Ronin2
PhD Quiet
1.2.1  Ronin2  replied to  devangelical @1.2    one month ago

Another step towards complete anarchy is more like it.

What is next- don't bother with accidents caused by the careless actions of drivers?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.2.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @1.2    one month ago
another step forward in removing racist cops from the force.

Wow. THAT is what you garnered from reading the article?

Except for the fact that it has NOTHING to do with anything, you might, almost, maybe would have had a point.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.3  Split Personality  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago

It doesn't say they will be ignored.  The article says they will receive a warning or a citation by mail.

I95 and morning rush hour traffic throughout Philadelphia will benefit by not having people like my son

pulled over repeatedly for legally installed and acceptable tinted windows.

It will also save police lives when they pull over the wrong gang banger for having

air fresheners or fuzzy dice hanging from the inside rear view mirror. 

The amount of people who ignore the citations and don't pay them will certainly not decrease,

just add weight to the real characters' driving records until bench warrants are issued to

arrest them and impound their cars.

Philly has it all covered.

Again, eliminating bs stops will prevent people from hitting police cars performing the stops 

on busy crowded highways, boulevards and avenues or blocking entire neighborhoods of one lane streets

for a police shopping expedition.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.3.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Split Personality @1.3    one month ago
It doesn't say they will be ignored.  The article says they will receive a warning or a citation by mail.

Going to be tough to issue a warning or a citation by mail when the police can't read a license plate at night. Are they supposed to guess who is driving? Or who owns the car?

Sorry, but I like when laws are actually enforced. That's why we have them, because they were deemed important. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
1.4  Tacos!  replied to  Texan1211 @1    one month ago

It doesn’t look like they plan on actually ignoring the law. They will just be enforcing it without going through the trouble of detaining someone.

 
 
 
squiggy
Sophomore Quiet
2  squiggy    one month ago

They have a point but I have to ask how many of those bullshit tickets were actually downgrades from more costly offenses? How many speeders and stop-sign runners got tail-light tickets as an alternative?

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
2.1  Split Personality  replied to  squiggy @2    one month ago

Not in Philly unless it was a relation pulling you over. 

Moving violations are money makers throughout the 5 counties.

Downgrades only happen when you kiss ass and show up in court to politely challenge the ticket.

PA has an point system which gets reported to your insurance company.

Most municipalities are willing to exchange higher fees for knocking off most or all of the points

which would ultimately cost you more in insurance premiums for three years.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
2.1.1  charger 383  replied to  Split Personality @2.1    one month ago
"Moving violations are money makers throughout the 5 counties."

and that is the major problem with police,  it's not about safety it is to make money 

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
3  Gazoo    one month ago

Driving in philadelphia, minneapolis, and virginia will be like driving in a third world country. Insurance rates, for those that bother to have insurance, are sure to up in those areas.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gazoo @3    one month ago

What, because of this?

In March, Virginia became the first state to prohibit these stops within three months of the bill's introduction. Law enforcement officers cannot lawfully stop motorists for driving without a light illuminating a license plate, without brake lights or a high mount stop light, and with certain sun-shading materials and tinting films, according to the legislation. "The bill also provides that no law-enforcement officer may lawfully stop, search, or seize any person, place, or thing solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana," the Virginia bill states.

I live in Virginia.  It's no worse driving here than it ever was.

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
3.1.1  Gazoo  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.1    one month ago

Driving without brake lights can lead to a serious accident, not so much on a country road, but in a city setting. I hope i’m wrong about insurance rates. Time will tell.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gazoo @3.1.1    one month ago

I'm aware.  I'm also aware that I see cars with broken taillights or headlights out all the time, and did before this bill passed.  Also, eventually, they'll be replaced, because Virginia requires all cars to be inspected yearly, and broken lights won't pass inspection.

But, from a real-world standpoint, this has been in effect for 4 or 5 months now.  I'm not aware of any increase in accidents.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
3.1.3  Split Personality  replied to  Gazoo @3.1.1    one month ago

They still issue the citations and follow up later ( with their new "free time" )

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
3.1.4  Gazoo  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.1.2    one month ago

So somebody could be driving around without brake lights for nearly a year before they get a new inspection? 
or, as split p says they’ll get a citation in the mail. Not sure how that will work for someone that moves a lot or doesn’t have a permanent residence. 
it just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me to lessen safety rules that affect everyone because some have a problem following those rules, but like i said, time will tell.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.1.5  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gazoo @3.1.4    one month ago

I suppose if their brake lights went out the day after their last inspection, but how frequently would that really happen?

The things I see that cause accidents are aggressive driving - tailgating, sudden lane changes, forcing one's way into a lane where there's barely space at interstate speeds.  And driving too fast for road conditions or distracted driving.  And I rarely see anybody pulled over for any of those.  So tinted windows or a brake light out don't really seem like a real safety problem to me, looking at the big picture.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1.6  Ender  replied to  Gazoo @3.1.4    one month ago

We don't do yearly inspections anymore.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1.7  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.1.5    one month ago

I drove around with one brake light out for three years.

I was being lazy.  Haha

I was even in front of police and they never stopped me.

The shop finally fixed it when I went in for something else.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.1.8  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @3.1.7    one month ago

My older car is hard on headlights.  I got pulled over one evening for having a headlight out once a few years ago.  I actually had just bought a bulb and was going to put it in when I got home, where I had lights in the garage to see what I was doing.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
3.1.9  MonsterMash  replied to  Ender @3.1.7    one month ago
I drove around with one brake light out for three years. I was being lazy.  Haha

You were being a dumb-ass irresponsible driver. If you had been rear-ended causing injury to you or one of your passengers I doubt you would say "HaHa" 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1.10  Ender  replied to  MonsterMash @3.1.9    one month ago

I still had the middle light and the other light.

[removed]

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.11  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Gazoo @3.1.4    one month ago

Safety just isn't a concern--unless it is the safety of people who break the law.

Just go ahead and drive without brake lights. 

Pray that one of those idiots is never in front of you.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
3.1.12  MonsterMash  replied to  Ender @3.1.10    one month ago
removed for context by charger

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
3.2  Split Personality  replied to  Gazoo @3    one month ago

nonsense.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
4  Tacos!    one month ago

I think it’s a good idea just from the standpoint of efficiency and safety. There is no reason to pull me over for a broken tail light. Just send me a postcard notifying me of the fact.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
4.1  Split Personality  replied to  Tacos! @4    one month ago

Exactly.

An addendum to my SC traffic Court story.

The guy ahead of me shows up to plead his case.  The Judge is not amused.

The man bought a used car "as is" from one of our less reputable Low Country Used car lots.

One tail light was missing.

He tried to run the gauntlet on State 17 above town but was pulled over, of course.

No tail light, temp tags in the window, not on the bumper

Anecdotally, he tried to explain to the white officer and his white partner, he had just "bought' the car 15 minutes ago.

They approached him with their cuffs out.

He ran.

He was near train tracks that crossed the swamps and muck north of Beaufort on elevated "bridges".

One officer stayed with the vehicles, the other gave chase.

During the chase the officer stumbled on the railroad ties and tore up his pants and scuffed his shoes.

The Judge clearly exasperated asked "Why???"

The nere' do well says, " your honor I am BLACK !   I knew where this was going in a heartbeat."

The Judge was quiet.  Stared a hole through the two officers for a while and said

"Either of you two of Port Royals finest DEEEtectives have anything to add to the written report?

They demurred. 

The judge waived the tickets and the resisting arrest charges.

The towing, impound and tail light, court fees were about twice what the car cost initially.

"That was enough punishment"

Oh and then he ordered that the citizen owed the policeman the cost of a new pair of trousers too.

True story, lol.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
4.1.1  MonsterMash  replied to  Split Personality @4.1    one month ago
The nere' do well says, " your honor I am BLACK !   I knew where this was going in a heartbeat."

Oh Yah, the standard "get of trouble" excuse, pull the race card. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
4.1.2  Split Personality  replied to  MonsterMash @4.1.1    one month ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
5  charger 383    one month ago

They need to take radar away

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
5.1  Gazoo  replied to  charger 383 @5    one month ago

Of course somebody with a classic charger would suggest that. jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
squiggy
Sophomore Quiet
5.2  squiggy  replied to  charger 383 @5    one month ago

That's the good news in PA - Barney can't have it. The state police do but a driver has to really deserve a ticket to get one. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
5.3  Split Personality  replied to  charger 383 @5    one month ago

Weird because radar is pretty accurate and / but the courts say there must be visual evidence?

By humans that are notoriously inaccurate in gauging speed and distance

or even retelling a traffic accident story that they witnessed

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online