(CBS DETROIT) – A new electronic billboard is warning drivers heading to Livonia about racial profiling.
The billboard, which reads, ‘Driving while Black? Racial profiling just ahead. Welcome to Livonia.‘ is funded by the Facebook group, Livonia Citizens Caring About Black Lives.
It can be seen on Telegraph south of I-96 in Redford Township.
Organizer Delisha Upshaw said some have accused the group of making accusations without evidence and the anecdotal evidence from victims of race-based traffic stops in Livonia is overwhelming.
“Now we have people born and raised here who are speaking out about witnessing or hearing about this practice in candid discussions with law enforcement friends and family members about DWB, NIL, or Darkey in the Valley,” said Upshaw.
Livonia Police Chief Curtis Caid took to the department’s Facebook page stating he takes the billboard’s allegation “very seriously.”
“I’ve always been open to anyone that has concerns or suggestions on how we can improve the delivery of services to our community, which includes residents, business owners and visitors. I’ve participated in many community outreach efforts, including partnering with Western Wayne County NAACP. I’ve enjoyed the dialogue and mutual respect. We are developing a transparency tab on our website. If there is data that you would like to see – let us know! We have nothing to hide. Livonia Police officers are committed to delivering excellence in police services to ALL,” stated Caid.
Caid also provided his full statement to local news in the post.
Upshaw also mentioned the Stanford Open Policing Project which collects and data on vehicle and pedestrian stops from law enforcement departments across the country.
The project has found significant racial disparities in policing.
“These disparities can occur for many reasons: differences in driving behavior, to name one. But, in some cases, we find evidence that bias also plays a role,” the website states.
“Livonia is not exempt from bias,” said Upshaw.
Now, LCCABL has created a GoFundMe page to raise $13,085 for a FOIA request of all written traffic stops from July 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019 from the Livonia Police Department.
The police department responded to the group’s request July 1 stating they would need at least 50 percent of the FOIA’s estimated cost before processing the group’s request.
To read the full response from the police department visit here.