Traffic stops: WBFO's 'alarming' findings to be discussed by the Police Oversight Committee
A WBFO analysis of traffic stop receipts issued by the Buffalo Police Department is to be discussed by Buffalo Common Council’s Police Oversight Committee.
WBFO analyzed three years’ worth of traffic stop receipt data recorded by the Buffalo Police, and found that Black people are 3.1x more likely to be stopped than white people in the city of Buffalo, according to the dataset.
The analysis garnered a number of further findings, which are listed in the full story.
Fillmore District Councilmember, Mitch Nowakowski, filed WBFO’s story with the Common Council, where it was briefly acknowledged in council chambers Tuesday, before being sent to the Police Oversight Committee.
Of the nine council districts, Fillmore District has the most total stops.
“There’s a lot of nuance to these numbers and I wanna talk to the Police Commissioner in kinda explaining this…so that we can have a really hearty conversation in making sure that we are not disproportionately disenfranchising people of color in their own neighborhood,” Nowakowski said.
Councilmember David Rivera represents the Niagara District and is also the chair of the Police Oversight Committee.
Speaking in the council meeting he said: “The findings are alarming. However, I think we should send the analysis that made to the police department, giving the police department enough time to look at the information and data and the numbers.”
The next Police Oversight Committee meeting has not yet been scheduled.
The meetings are a path for communication between the Common Council and the Buffalo Police Department, but they have been sparse - only two such meetings took place in 2023 of a scheduled four.
The other two were canceled.
Traffic stop receipts are issued by officers when a traffic ticket is not - designed as a less punitive measure to police the streets and to increase transparency in the police department.
The receipts have been in use since June 2020 as part of Mayor Byron Brown’s Buffalo Reform Agenda. In July 2021, they were written into local law.
Before WBFO’s full story was published, WBFO contacted Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia for an interview. Gramaglia was on vacation at the time and so we requested – and received - a comment from the city in lieu of that interview. WBFO then extended an invitation to Gramaglia to speak on WBFO’s findings upon his return, at his convenience. At this time, we have not received a response to the request.
The invitation still stands.