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2018 The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Small Newsroom finalist

Justice For Who?

 

About the Project

On its streets — in traffic stops, searches and arrests.
In its schools — in suspensions and expulsions.
And in its jail — in who’s locked up and for how long.
Unequal treatment is the norm in Fresno.

Some of the nation’s starkest inequalities lie among the rich fields of California’s Central Valley.
Nowhere is California’s inequality more clear than in Fresno, where the neighborhood a child is born determines not only how they will live, but even when they will die. In a southwest ZIP code of Fresno, life expectancy is 69 years. Six miles away, in a northern ZIP code of Fresno, life expectancy is 90 years.

Fresno has long been a law and order city. But data spanning Fresno’s justice system — from its streets to its schools to its jail — reveal its residents aren’t treated equally.

Routine interactions with the police put a much heavier burden on black Fresnans than white, data obtained from the city’s police department shows.

A year’s worth of data on traffic stops, car searches and arrests — obtained through a public records request and revealed here for the first time — provides the most complete look available at the role of race in policing in Fresno.

An analysis of more than 40,000 traffic stops in 2016 shows that black drivers accounted for 15 percent of officers’ stops — twice their share of the city’s driving-age population and nearly triple the rate that white drivers were stopped.