Police officers in Paris consistently stop people on the basis of ethnicity and dress rather than on the basis of suspicious individual behavior, according to a report released by the Open Society Justice Initiative.
The report documents over 500 police stops over a one-year period and across five locations in and around the Gare du Nord train station and Châtelet-Les Halles commuter rail station.
The data show that blacks were between 3.3 and 11.5 times more likely than whites to be stopped; while Arabs were stopped between 1.8 and 14.8 more times than whites. The study also found a strong relationship between people's ethnicity, particular styles of clothing worn by young people, and the likelihood that they would be stopped.
The report recommends a number of reforms to identity check practices in Paris, including reform of law and policies that allow ethnic profiling; an explicit ban on discrimination by police officials; stronger criteria for the “reasonable suspicion” required to stop persons; and enhanced record-keeping and review of stops to assess their impact and promote better practice.
The complete report is available for download in English and French.