Portland Dispatch June 23: Lost Highway

Portland Police will no longer stop drivers for traffic violations not deemed an immediate threat to safety.

On Tuesday, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell announced that he’s directed all officers to only focus on policing traffic violations that threatens [sic] public safety. This would limit officers from pulling over drivers for low-level infractions, like a broken headlight during daylight hours or expired tags—policies that have historically been used as pretext to predominately stop and question drivers of color.

Black drivers have long been overrepresented in traffic stops in Portland. Portland Police Bureau (PPB) data shows that in 2019, 18 percent of all traffic stops involved Black drivers, despite Black people making up 6 percent of the city’s population. This disparity is magnified when officers are assigned to deter gang activity: In 2018, a city audit found that 59 percent of drivers stopped by PPB’s former Gang Enforcement Team were Black.

Traffic stops were used by the now-disbanded Gang Enforcement Team to harass and sometimes intercept gangbangers before they can engage in retribution killings.

The city’s nominal police chief Chuck Lovell contends the net effect will be greater public safety–by allowing broken headlights (apparently specifically mentioned is pulling people over for not having their lights on at night), unregistered vehicles and unlicensed drivers. One wonders why we’ve left this public benefit laying in the gutter all this time! And that it can be realized not by the expenditure of resources, but by saving them! The logic follows that of other reforms: remove the police, negate the laws and black people, finally, will thrive.

Lovell mentioned that these changes, specifically regarding violations, will improve the rate of traffic fatalities along with the city’s ability to police equitably. According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), the city has seen a 47 percent increase in traffic deaths in 2021, compared to this same time in 2020—an increase from 17 deaths to 25. Directing officers to focus on only pulling over people for violations that threaten safety will free up officers’ time to prioritize driving issues that could turn fatal.

Like most things, Portland’s leadership is ignorant of the increase in black traffic accidents in the George Floyd era that Steve Sailer calls “the Racial Wreckening”:

The sudden slaughter on the highways of blacks (black road deaths were up 55% in June 2020 over June 2019) is obviously due to the Racial Reckoning leading to black feelings above suddenly being above the law and the cops backing off making traffic stops of blacks driving badly as The Establishment was demanding.

Leader of the police abolition movement and city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty approves of course:

“I strongly support today’s announcement that PPB will no longer pursue minor traffic violations and will limit car searches, while informing drivers of their constitutional rights during these encounters,” Hardesty wrote. “This allows the police to focus on traffic violations that pose an immediate safety threat and other higher priority crime mitigation efforts, such as solving crimes related to the increase in gun violence.”

Get that? We’ve pulled police off the streets, so now we have more resources for solving the attendant increase in murders. Likewise, I imagine, taking traffic enforcement away from the police will free up their time for more important things, like responding to all the fatal accidents. Portland logic.

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