So, last year, at TriMet’s request, Portland State University’s Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute studied two years of enforcement data and found that fare inspectors and supervisors did not disproportionately charge African-American riders with skipping fares.
However, that study did find that African-American riders were more likely than whites to be excluded from trains and buses. At the time, TriMet characterized the variances found in the PSU study as slight. And when the data are sliced one way, disparities were slight.
What the study did not include, however, was a thorough analysis of another common charge — one that Dean got: interfering with public transit, known as IPT.
Our analysis, which includes 10 years of state court data, shows that African-Americans have been charged with IPT at a rate up to 6.4 times the rate of white riders over the past decade.
The Transit Police Division is run by the Portland Police Bureau but is closely tied to — and funded by — the transit agency and its mission is to discourage crime throughout the TriMet system.
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