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Michigan ACLU asks Ferndale to investigate possible racial profiling of black drivers

Ferndale Police Department

The ACLU of Michigan wants to know why black drivers are far more likely to be ticketed in Ferndale than white drivers?

Mark Fancher, an ACLU attorney, said records obtained from the Ferndale Police Department show that about 60% of motorists who received traffic citations in a recent 16-month period were black. He said black people make up less than 10% of Ferndale's population, according to the 2010 census.

In a letter yesterday to Ferndale's Police Chief, Timothy D. Collins, the Michigan ACLU urged the department to hire an independent consultant to determine the reasons for the racially skewed stops. 

"We have encouraged the department to consider engaging a specialist or an expert who can work with them to, first of all, determine whether racial profiling is occurring, and if it is, to recommend some steps that will be necessary to correct that problem," said Fancher.

The ACLU also suggested that the Ferndale police confer with the leadership of the Kalamazoo Police Department, which took these steps when confronting similarly troubling statistics.

In a press release issued yesterday, Ferndale Police Chief Collins denied that his department racially profiles. Collins has agreed to a meeting with the ACLU to discuss the data.

– Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom