by Billy Ball
If the Sept. 18 U.S. Department of Justice allegations of racial profiling have had any impact on the Alamance County Sheriff's Office, it doesn't show in recent traffic stop data.
September and October reports to the N.C. Department of Justice show Latino drivers were more than four times as likely as non-Latinos to be arrested during traffic stops by Alamance County deputies. In that time frame, 18.7 percent of Latinos pulled over were arrested, compared to 4.5 percent of non-Latinos.
Traffic stop data can fluctuate greatly between months, but the September and October numbers mirror earlier trends. An Indy analysis of traffic stop records from January 2009 to June 2012 showed Latinos were more than twice as likely to be arrested as non-Latinos in the primarily rural county west of the Triangle. The arrest rate was far higher than in other North Carolina counties. Arrests are key because—under Alamance County's now terminated 287(g) program—Latinos were processed for deportation in the county's jail.
Federal customs officials nixed 287(g) in Alamance shortly after the U.S. DOJ statement. Since the profiling allegations, there have been reports of numerous deportation cases voluntarily dropped by immigration prosecutors in Alamance County, although federal officials have been unwilling to confirm that they are connected.