WALLER COUNTY, TX– Last year in Waller County, if you were black and got pulled over by the cops, you had a 53% chance of driving away with just a warning.
Not bad odds, until you realize if you were white, you had a 67% chance. These stats come from more than 11 million stop records across Texas that the Austin-American Statesman examined.
But NewsFix is never one to hide behind stats and percentages, so we headed up to Waller to see what folks there really had to say.
“I believe if you’re ever stopped for some sort of traffic violation, the best thing to do is to always be subordinate and cooperate with the officer,” said Jeffrey Ibarguen, a young African-American man who travels through Waller County often driving from Houston to Austin. He said he has never gotten a ticket in 10 years of driving, so he must be doing something right.
Adam Norris is a young white man who moved back to Waller six months ago. He said, “I know that if I’m riding with a black person, I’m more likely to get pulled over than if I’m riding with a white person.” That has happened to him, but he was let off with a warning.
Four years ago, your chance of getting ticketed when pulled over in Waller County was about equal regardless of your race. Today, though, it’s a different story.
Reynolds Owusu, a sophomore at the local college, explained, “The police in Waller County, I feel like they’re… stricter on us as Prairie View students…. like we might get out of hand or whatever.”
What’s his advice when getting pulled over? “Just stay calm and let them know you’re unarmed,” he said without a hint of concern in his voice.