American Indian women were disproportionately stopped, searched and arrested by police in Minneapolis in 2017. Researchers at St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas studied data provided by the Minneapolis Police department on police stops.
The data showed striking differences in the ratio of American Indian women stopped by police compared to women of other races.Of women living in Minneapolis, 1.42 percent report their race as American Indian or Alaska Native. During the period from November 2016 to October 2017, Minneapolis Police report that 6.57 percent of their stops of women were American Indian. This equates to a ratio of 4.63, meaning that American Indian women were stopped by police 4.63 times as often as they would be if stops were proportional to their percentage of the female population in the city.
American Indian men were also disproportionately stopped, with a ratio of 2.23. Stops of African American men have a ratio of 2.55 (48.7 percent of stops, but 19.1 percent of the male population), making African American men also less disproportionally stopped than American Indian women.
After the police initiates a stop, an officer may choose to perform a search of the person and/or the vehicle. The report shows that after being stopped by police, American Indians were searched more often than any other race. American Indian women are also five times more likely to be arrested and booked than white women stopped by police.
While the majority of police stops in Minneapolis were for traffic enforcement, the majority of stops of American Indians were logged as a “suspicious person.”
The study was funded by the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
“These differences are striking and of policy interest,” explained Marina Mileo Gorsuch, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics and political science at St. Catherine University. “For example, being arrested may affect family stability, employability, and income. We intend to continue research into the factors behind racial differences in stops, searches, and arrests in Minneapolis.”