It’s still not safe to drive while brown in Alamance County, where sheriff’s deputies continue to stop Latinos at a higher rate than non-Latinos. This is despite a U.S. Department of Justice report issued in September alleging the sheriff’s office racially profiles Latinos.
September and October reports to the N.C. Department of Justice show Latino drivers were more than four times as likely as non-Latinos to be arrested during traffic stops by Alamance County deputies. In that time frame, 18.7 percent of Latinos pulled over were arrested, compared to 4.5 percent of non-Latinos.
Traffic stop data can fluctuate greatly between months, but the September and October numbers mirror earlier trends. An INDY analysisof traffic stop records from January 2009 to June 2012 showed Latinos were more than twice as likely to be arrested as non-Latinos in the primarily rural county west of the Triangle. The Latino arrest rate was far higher than in other North Carolina counties.
Arrests are key because the county used the federal 287(g) program to process Latinos for deportation. Federal customs officials nixed 287(g) in Alamance in late September after the U.S. DOJ released findings from its investigation.
Since the allegations, there have been reports of numerous deportation cases voluntarily dropped by immigration prosecutors in Alamance County, although federal officials have been unwilling to confirm that the two are connected.