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Richmond Police Department Stop Black Drivers Disproportionately


February 14, 2024 by Tom Roberts, Esq.

"Driving While Black" in Richmond City

It’s official – “Black drivers have a problem in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond Police Department officers stop Black drivers five times more frequently than white drivers.”  US v. Keith Rodney Moore, Case 3:21-cr-00042-JAG.

Equal Protection Clause of 14th Amendment prohibits selective enforcement based on race.


Defense Expert:

Chiles Ph.D – report

US Expert:

Michael Smith, JD, Ph.D. – report

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment “prohibits selective enforcement of the law based on considerations such as  race.”  Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 813 (1996).  To Establish an Equal Protection violation, a claimant must show that the action he challenges (1) had a discriminatory effect and (2) was motivated by discriminatory intent.  Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 265-66 (1977).

The Dilemma - the root and cure?

The dilemma:  Because the City determined that crime was Richmond’s biggest issue driving businesses out and keeping them from coming back, the City of Richmond began creating task forces designed to target perceived high crime areas, namely Black neighborhoods.  Dr. Chiles, an expert in the case, explained that Black neighborhoods in the City of Richmond experienced “more crime” because individuals in those neighborhoods “ha[d] been segregated, confined [and] given…an inferior education that doesn’t allow them to compete in a traditional economy like everyone else… [W]hen you have that happening for generations…crime is going to be the natural result, especially disproportionate to the rest of the City.”  See Opinion at 14.   But has that missed the mark? – See Opinion of Stephen Jenkins below.


Richmond countered that “another far more plausible explanation…that criminal activity is unfortunately disproportionately concentrated in Richmond’s minority neighborhoods,” pointing out that 89% of the murders in Richmond since January 1, 2018 occurred in precincts 1, 2 and 4.    While this may be true, that explanation did not explain “the fact that even in predominantly white neighborhoods, RPC stops Black drivers at roughly the same disproportionate rate.”  See Opinion at 16.

But has either the defense or the prosecution put its finger of the real issues?

Commentary by Stephen Jenkins!

Stephen Jenkins, an African-American Richmond Entrepreneur, provides a unique commentary on the source of crime plaguing the Black community and insights on the road to rebuild.Stephen Jenkins

I believe it’s disingenuous to talk about the crime, and the poverty that we see in our inner city communities without the willingness to look at the root cause.  As a black man growing up in America, the hardest and most difficult deficit to overcome, has not been racism or poverty, it has been the impact of fatherlessness that I experienced with so many other men. Without adequate male mentors and role models, young black men are at a loss to find purpose, meaning and direction. Instead, they turn to violence, sexuality, and self-destructive behaviors.
Looking at the statistics, a high percentage of crimes are committed by persons of color wholly disproportionate given the size of its community.  Everyone wants to talk about police brutality on the African-American community, but no one wants to talk about the black-on-black crime rates within those same communities.
There are no more excuses. We’ve had a black president a black Supreme Court justice, a black vice president. There are no longer any excuses.
Fortunately, there is a willingness within the African-American community to have a serious discussion. How do we hold each other accountable or will we simply continue to blame our internal dysfunction on outside circumstances. 
Policing as an external mechanism is not going to solve this problem–no matter how many tickets are written, cars stopped and young African Americans prosecuted.
Below is one of my favorite quotes from Thomas Sowell from his syndicated newspaper article in 2014.

“If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.

Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the civil rights laws and “war on poverty” programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.

Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black “leaders.”


Nearly a hundred years of the supposed “legacy of slavery” found most black children [78%] being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent [66%]. Public housing projects in the first half of the 20th century were clean, safe places, where people slept outside on hot summer nights, when they were too poor to afford air conditioning. That was before admissions standards for public housing projects were lowered or abandoned, in the euphoria of liberal non-judgmental notions. And it was before the toxic message of victimhood was spread by liberals. We all know what hell holes public housing has become in our times. The same toxic message produced similar social results among lower-income people in England, despite an absence of a “legacy of slavery” there.

If we are to go by evidence of social retrogression, liberals have wreaked more havoc on blacks than the supposed “legacy of slavery” they talk about.

Stephen Jenkins’ insight regarding the African American community is becoming increasingly relevant to all American communities, as family units are disintegrating across the country. 

See Stephen Jenkins Fashion Designs at “GRACIST

Thomas H. Roberts, JD
Thomas H Roberts & Associates, PC
105 S 1st Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Virginia Civil Rights Attorney since 1986


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