Arrest rates have dropped for all racial groups in California over the past decade, but African Americans are still much more likely than whites to be arrested on felony charges, the state attorney general’s office reported Friday.
In 2015, blacks were 10 times as likely as whites to be arrested on robbery charges and three to five times as likely to be arrested on charges of burglary, theft or assault, the report said. For felonies involving narcotics, black men were six times as likely as white men to be arrested, and black women were 2.9 times as likely as white women.
The disparity was even larger for charges of prostitution, in which black women were 20 times as likely to be arrested as white women.
The differences were much less for Latinos, who were about twice as likely as non-Latino whites to be arrested for robbery and were arrested at about the same rate as whites for narcotics. The report also noted that the racial gap was much larger a decade ago, when African Americans in California were about 17 times as likely as whites to be arrested on narcotics charges.
The report, part of a year-old project by the state attorney general’s office to study arrest records statewide, comes at a time of national controversy and protests over racial issues in law enforcement and police killings of black men.
The data show “pervasive inequalities in our criminal justice system,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement accompanying the report. “We must continue the national dialogue about criminal justice reform and promote the American idea that we are all equal under the law.”