"The Manchester Police Department used invalid methodology and unsupported conclusions in its report, released this week, purporting to analyze racial profiling by its officers," the ACLU said in a statement.
Police Chief Marc Montminy presented a report Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, that he said showed that Manchester officers did not stop motorists more frequently based on race or ethnicity.
But the ACLU said the report's findings were flawed for a number of reasons.
First, according to the ACLU, population comparison is not a valid basis for comparison. Blacks make up about 12 percent of Manchester's population, according to Montminy's report, which he based on U.S. Census Bureau figures, but comprise 22 percent of all stops by the department.
"If population were a valid basis for comparison, the numbers of African Americans stopped would be an alarming indication of racial profiling," the ACLU states. "African Americans comprise about 12 percent of the population of Manchester and 22 percent of the drivers stopped. The report says that 'The Black racial classification is overrepresented by 10%, compared to the population statistics.' This is wrong. The black population is overrepresented by 10 percentage points but by 83 percent, by that measure."
The ACLU said that the same also applies to vehicle searched based on the police department's report.
"'The data on car searches as a result of traffic stops does indicate that Hispanic drivers’ cars are searched more often than White operators; however, the spread between the two was only 2.4%.' Yet these data clearly show that police were more likely to subject African American and Latino drivers than white drivers to a vehicle search."
The ACLU also criticizes the department's report for not listing the results of vehicle searches, "so it's impossible to know what percentage were justified and how that might break down by race and ethnicity."
The ACLU has requested the underlining data the police department used to compile its report and says it will continue to investigate its accuracy.
Montminy reiterated Friday that he does not believe racial profiling takes place in Manchester.
“The ACLU will suggest to you that you can’t compare your stop statistics with census data, but what else do we have?” Montminy said.
Montminy also noted that Manchester was among the first communities to compile this type of data and was trying to be open and transparent in doing so.
“We’re not trying to hide anything," he told Patch Friday afternoon. “If you jump down the throat of the one community that is making an attempt, you almost guarantee that no one else will.”