Ottawa

Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project report to be released

The research team behind a comprehensive study that analyzed two years of traffic stop data collected by Ottawa police — including the race of drivers — is set to release its report at City Hall on Monday afternoon.

Project part of a settlement in case of young black man who filed complaint after being pulled over

Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau will be available for questions following the release of the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project report on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

UPDATE: Find details on the report here.


The research team behind a "huge landmark study" that analyzed two years of traffic stop data collected by Ottawa police — including the race of drivers — is set to release its report at City Hall on Monday afternoon.

A York University research team was given data on 120,000 stops, including race, gender, age range, the reason for the stop and whether the stop resulted in charges, said researcher Les Jacobs.

"It is the biggest race data project ever embraced by a Canadian policing service. So it is a huge landmark study," he said. The team only analyzed about 82,000 of those stops, because the study was meant to focus on Ottawa residents, not visitors.

"It gives us a pretty good picture of what happened and the demographics of the driver."'

The Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project was part of a settlement in the case of Chad Aiken, a black man who was 18 when he was pulled over in Ottawa while driving his mother's Mercedes Benz in May 2005. 

Aiken said he was taunted and punched in the chest by an Ottawa officer in what he called a case of racial profiling.

In June 2013, Ottawa officers started recording "their perception of driver race using the existing in-car computer system" during traffic stops, according to the force.

Study 'can't establish if there's racial profiling'

A York University research team was hired to help develop a method to collect and analyze the data.

Researchers worked with various communities in Ottawa to develop categories for data collection, Jacobs said.

While the study "can't establish if there's racial profiling," Jacobs said it does give "insight and illuminate race as well as other factors when thinking about traffic stops."

Jacobs and fellow researcher Lorne Foster will present the results of the 80-page report at 2 p.m. at City Hall, along with Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau and the chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, Eli El-Chantiry.

Bordeleau's report to the board will also be available online at that time.

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