Philadelphia police will no longer pull people over for minor traffic stops that disproportionately affected Black drivers

Police officer inspects a car that was being driven in Philadelphia by a man police killed and shot during a traffic stop early Monday morning. AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek
A new bill reclassified several offenses, including improper display of registration.

The Defenders Association stated that nearly 97% of all police vehicle stops are for low level violations.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia was the first major US metropolis to ban such stops.

Two bills were passed by the Philadelphia City Council. They will create a searchable database of traffic stops. Police officers are prohibited from pulling over motorists for low-level motor vehicle offenses. This tactic has disproportionately affected Black drivers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that one of the bills amended Philadelphia's Traffic Code to reclassify seven offences, including broken taillights or improperly displayed registration stickers as "secondary violations". A secondary offense is when a driver is cited by police via mail, rather than having to pull over.

According to The Inquirer, Philadelphia is the first major US metropolis to ban such stops.

"Too many people look like me, a stop at the traffic light is a right of passage. We pick out our cars, decide our routes, and plan our social interactions around knowing that we might be stopped by police. City Council has made our streets safer, more equitable, and removed traffic stops that encourage discrimination, according to Isaiah Thomas, Philadelphia City Councilmember, who is the author of the Driving Equality laws.

The Defender Association stated that 97% of all police vehicle stops are for low level violations. The ban could result in as many as 300,000.

According to The Inquirer, Thomas' office data showed that 72% of Philadelphia's police stopped Black drivers for violating vehicle code violations in a single year. However, only 43% of Philadelphia's residents are Black.

According to the website of the city council, Thomas amended the bill banning traffic stop for low-level motor vehicle offenses last Wednesday to give the Philadelphia Police Department 120 day training and education prior to its implementation.

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According to the bill's text the searchable traffic stop database must develop within one year. It should include information about driver and officer, demographic and geographical information, as well as the reason for each stop.

"Data will inform us if more traffic stops should be made or how enforcement should be done." Thomas stated that data will be available to other cities and help them see that Philadelphia is a leader in this issue of civil rights. It can also be replicated."

The bill was sent to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for his signature.

Business Insider has the original article.