By Associated Press - Sunday, August 24, 2014

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - African-Americans make up nearly all of those arrested or ticketed for breaking the city’s ordinance against walking in the street if there’s a sidewalk, A Shreveport newspaper reports.

A public records request revealed that whites made up only 18 of the 276 people ticketed or arrested since the start of 2011 for breaking the ordinance, The Times reported ( ) Sunday. The remaining 258 - 93 percent - were black. They included 224 black males, or 81 percent of the total.

From 2005 through Sept. 12, 2010, blacks made up 92 percent of the people ticketed or arrested for walking in the street, the newspaper reported.

Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw wouldn’t answer the newspaper’s questions about the ordinance or its findings that the ordinance appears to be disproportionately enforced against blacks.

“We always encourage our officers to use an appropriate amount of discretion” in making stops and arrests, Cpl. Marcus Hines, a police spokesman, said in a written statement. He said bookings are sometimes needed if there’s reason to think a ticketed person won’t show up in court, will cause harm to themselves or others, or will continue the offense.

He said most of the 34 cited this year with walking in the street also were accused of other offenses such as resisting an officer, illegal carrying of weapons and narcotics.

Police records show 18 were jailed and 11 of those were also booked with other crimes.

“We are extremely proud of the partnerships we have forged with neighbors all over our city,” Hines wrote. “And the tremendous decreases we have seen in almost every category of crime in Shreveport over the past two decades are directly attributable to those collaborative relationships.”

In the past two weeks, two men, Christopher Bell, 27, and Jimetric Sutton, 25, both black, were arrested and booked into the Shreveport City Jail for walking in the street. Their booking records show no sign of resisting arrest or any other offense.

“Why are these people being arrested for something they should be ticketed for?” said Deborah Allen, the North Louisiana field representative for the American Civil Liberties Union. “This definitely raises the question, is racial profiling at play here?”

Mayor Cedric Glover said the high number of walking in the street citations in predominantly black neighborhoods can be attributed to higher amounts of complaints coming from those areas about people in the street, many of them blocking traffic. Police must respond to the places where complaints are made, he said.


Information from: The Times,

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