National Geographic : 2018 Apr
JUDGE ROBERT L. WILKINS I-68, Exit 43C, Cumberland, Maryland (1992) Wilkins and three family members were detained and the exterior of their rental car was searched by a drug-sniffing dog after a state trooper stopped them for allegedly speeding in 1992. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a class-action lawsuit against the state police, and the state of Maryland settled in 1995, marking one of the earliest cases holding police accountable for racial profiling. The settlement required the state police to track traffic stops and searches by race, which revealed large racial disparities that prompted policy changes, including a more transparent complaint process for motorists. The racial disparities in traffic stops in Maryland are now smaller, but they continue. DEBORAH WRIGHT Dixwell Avenue and Benham Road, Hamden, Connecticut (2014) Wright was stopped by a Hamden police officer who sharply demanded her license and registra- tion. His tone shifted when he realized that she served on the civilian police commission in nearby West Haven, and he politely explained that the registration sticker on her car had expired.