ACLU: Blacks far more likely than whites to be arrested

New Jersey’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter says a new study shows black people are far more likely than whites to be arrested for low-level offenses in four cities.

The civil rights group’s study released Monday was based on 10 years of arrest data in Elizabeth, Jersey City, Millville and New Brunswick. The ACLU says the cities reflect the diversity of the state in population density, demographics and geography.

The ACLU studied the enforcement of four low-level offenses: loitering, marijuana possession of 50 grams or less, defiant trespass and disorderly conduct. The group says police exercise discretion in the enforcement of those offenses.

Jersey City spokesman Ryan Jacobs says the report is based on data before Mayor Steve Fulop took office. Jacobs says Fulop has since done a number of things to improve trust between police and the black community.

Emails seeking comments from the other towns were not immediately answered.

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