The sheriff’s office in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which contains Charlotte, announced Monday that they will no longer pull over motorists for non-moving traffic violations such as driving on a revoked license, window tinting or a broken tail light.
The policy, which went into effect on Sept. 19 and puts an end to “regulatory stops for non-moving violations,” is aimed at those who are disproportionally targeted by the criminal justice system, according to Democratic Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, as reported by local WCNC.
Violations such as having no insurance, an expired car inspection, a busted-out headlight or tinted windows will no longer be the sole basis for a traffic stop, though deputies are still able to charge drivers with such if they stop a vehicle for a more serious violation. Such offenses can be added if a driver is stopped for something more serious.
McFadden said he supported the new policy after advocates and groups presented information showing that Black drivers are disproportionately pulled over for such violations. The sheriff also mentioned data from the University of North Carolina School of Government Criminal Innovation Lab that showed of the top 10 most charged offenses in Mecklenburg County, five of them are regulatory.
Lawyers for the groups Forward Justice and the Mecklenburg County chapter of the North Carolina Second Chance Alliance reportedly presented the proposal for the new policy to McFadden, which showed statistics that Black motorists are targeted more often for non-moving traffic violations. Neither group responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
According to the data from those groups, Black drivers make up 30% of such traffic stops despite being only 22% of North Carolina’s population. White people, who comprise 69% of the state’s population, make up 60% of the state’s traffic stops. Such data shows that Black drivers are 95% more likely to be stopped by deputies.
McFadden maintained that the policy will improve interactions between officers and citizens, and his office is mandating that deputies pass an exam testing their knowledge of the new policy.
“Exercising appropriate discretion in the enforcement of our laws is one of the greatest challenges and one of the greatest responsibilities of any law enforcement officer,” said McFadden in a statement. “It is the intention of this new policy to encourage Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s deputies to focus on the most serious and potentially dangerous traffic offenses, while treating all drivers in and through Mecklenburg County equally under the law.”
The policy applies only to county police and does not affect the city’s Charlotte Police Department. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.