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Durham sheriff rebukes lawyer's accusations of racial profiling

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) - A Durham activist says deputies with the Durham County Sheriff's Office engage in racial profiling when pulling people over during traffic stops.

Civil rights lawyer Scott Holmes made these claims Friday and says things aren't getting better.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice complied data through public records on traffic stops in the county.

It shows so far in 2017, traffic stops are 60 percent black to 36 percent white.

"I'm angered that there are so many black motorists who are stopped and searched for no reason and nothing is found, because of the color of their skin," Holmes said.

Holmes presented this information Friday to students at North Carolina Central University.

He says things have only gotten worse over time.

"Engaging in racial profiling with traffic stops and that has been increasing since the election of Sheriff (Mike) Andrews in 2011," he said.

In a statement, Andrews said:

"I am opposed to any form of bias in law enforcement; I don't endorse it or encourage it and my deputies are trained against it. The Sheriff's Office has and always will be open to listening to anyone's concerns."

Holmes says he taking his concerns to county leaders.

"As a civil rights lawyer, someone who cares about civil rights, it's my obligation to bring out that information and see if we can get the Durham County commissioners to look at the data and see what can be done," he said.

The sheriff's office also sent a link you can use to access data on traffic stops in the state.


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