OPD data shows racial disparity among arrests


Graphic by Kasey Turman

Although only 6% of Oxford residents identified as Black in the U.S. Census, about 12% of pedestrians stopped, but not arrested, in Oxford last year were Black. Source: Oxford Police Community Relations and Review Committee

By Kasey Turman

Although only 6% percent of Oxford residents are Black, nearly 10% of arrests by the Oxford Police Department in 2022 were of Black individuals.

The number of arrests and citations given to Black individuals was highest since data collection began in 2017. Of 1,856 arrests and citations by OPD, 180 were identified by police as Black, which makes up 9.7% of all arrests and citations. This is the second-highest percentage since 2017.

The percentage of Black individuals arrested compared to the total amount of arrests has risen every year since 2020.
Source: Oxford Police Community Relations and Review Committee Graphic by Kasey Turman

Black citizens make up 6% of Oxford, although this does not include the 5% of citizens identifying as two or more races, which is not an available category in the data collected by Oxford Police, according to the U.S Census Bureau.

A former member of the Oxford Police Civilians Review Commission, G. Allen Ratliff, who now lives in Nevada, questioned if the data showed that Oxford is policed fairly.

“I think that there are points in the data that could potentially indicate implicit bias over time,” Ratliff said. This could manifest when officers choose which pedestrian to stop, they said.

Chief Jones said the police department actively combats implicit bias through training.

“We do a good job of policing officers,” Jones said. “And if [implicit bias] is continuing, then somebody has to show me some evidence of it.”