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Black and Hispanic drivers in Austin, Texas, are disproportionately stopped by police, report says

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2016, file photo, women walk against the Austin skyline in Austin, Texas. (Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2016, file photo, women walk against the Austin skyline in Austin, Texas. (Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

(CNN) -- Black and Hispanic drivers in Austin, Texas, continue to be pulled over by police disproportionately, according to a city report released Thursday.

It found that black and African Americans are the most overrepresented, making up 15% of motor vehicle stops and 25% of arrests resulting from stops by the Austin Police Department in 2018. Yet black and African Americans make up just 8% of the city's adult population.

Hispanics and Latinos are also disproportionately affected, the report found. They made up 33% of motor vehicle stops and 43% of resulting arrests, despite making up 31% of Austin residents 18 and older.

Blacks and Hispanics are also disproportionately searched as a result of those stops, the report found.

Whites and Asians get pulled over less

Whites and Asians, meanwhile, are underrepresented.

Whites made up 47% of stops and 31% of resulting arrests, but 54% of adults. Asians made up 4% of stops and 0.9% of resulting arrests, but 6% of the people 18 and older.

Some might say the disparities exist partly because black and African Americans are more likely to commute into Austin from surrounding communities. But the report's authors said the data do not support that theory.

Instead, people of all races and ethnicities studied have similar commuting habits, according to the report.

Austin police also released a report on racial profiling

The report was the result of a joint effort between Austin's Office of Police Oversight, and the Office of Innovation and Equity. They looked at the race and ethnicities of people pulled over between 2015 and 2018 to understand and address potential disparities.

The city's police force also released a report on racial profiling in 2018, though it only included raw data on vehicle stops and searches by race and ethnicity -- not how those numbers compared to that group's numbers in the overall population.

"The collective voice of the Office of Police Oversight, Office of Innovation, and Equity Office is a welcome addition to the ongoing conversation focused on redressing racial inequities in Austin," the Austin Police Department said in its response to the report.

"Their joint report on the Austin Police Department's traffic stop data represents another brick in the path toward inclusive diversity and equality for the citizens of this city, and it has given our Department a valuable opportunity to view the issue from an alternative perspective."

Report calls on police to eliminate disparities by 2023

The three departments that produced the report also outlined a series of recommendations.

First, they called on the police department to "acknowledge that racial disparity exists and is worsening." They also called for the department to eliminate the racial disparities by 2023, to require implicit bias testing in hiring, and for current employees and to train all staff on racial equity, among other recommendations.

"To achieve the strategic direction of the City of Austin, the Austin Police Department (APD) should make every effort to address racial and ethnic disparities in this report and fulfill the recommendations within," the report says. "This is just the first step to establish trust with the communities that have been negatively impacted by these practices."

Police department says it has tried to address disparities

In his response to the city manager, Chief Brian Manley said that the department acknowledges racial disparities in police enforcement.

Manley also outlined steps that the department has taken in the past five years to address the problems, such as publishing reports on racial profiling and police use of force, instituting implicit bias training for new and current employees, and working with the community to enact policy changes.

"Despite all of these efforts, disparities have persisted," he said.

Manley said the department is eager to achieve more progress by working with city leaders and the community.