Police Racial Disparity: "How do we make sure everyone is treated equally?"

There's a good Citizen-Times article out on police data showing black drivers are more likely to be stopped and searched in Asheville than white drivers. Rich was interviewed along with activists from NAACP and local "hacking for good" group Code for Asheville.

 

For Lee, there is no reason these policies shouldn't be implemented in Asheville and he hopes they will be.

"Our goal should always be, in anything we look at whether it is housing or jobs or anything, how do we eliminate disparity? How do we make sure that anyone in our community is treated equally?" he said.

"I think (these policies) are a great no-controversy way to start," he said. "They are free (and) they have no safety implications. It's not a question of implementing them but it's a question of should we do this free, easy thing that is proven to work or should we do even more free things? It's not harder. We should do all of them and we should have a good honest discussion in the departments about how to work it."

But implementing policies shouldn't be where it stops.

"Statewide about half of all police interactions are traffic, car or driver interactions, but what if we have a city where most of the city or black population walks?" Lee said. "Then there is a large amount of interactions that are not being captured in this data. As a person who looks at data, I want to make sure we have the clearest picture we can and we see it for what it is."

Read more about Rich's positions on public safety and Asheville's historic diversity here.