The Committee Releases Report on Shocking Disparities in Fare Evasion Enforcement by Metro Police
Washington Lawyers' Committee
Sep 13, 2018

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee released a report focusing on the disparities in fare evasion enforcement by Metro Police. The 10 page report, titled “UNFAIR: Disparities in Fare Evasion Enforcement by Metro Police,” analyzes data provided by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) associated with Metro Police’s enforcement of the fare evasion law between January 1, 2016 and February 5, 2018. The data includes the race, age, and sex of anyone who was issued a warning or citation by Metro Police for fare evasion, and the location where each stop occurred.

Among the most critical findings of the review were as follows:

  • Metro Police stopped more than 30,000 people for suspected fare evasion between January 2016 and February 5, 2018 and issued more than 20,000 citations/summons for fare evasion.
  • The number of people who were given citations more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, and the number of people stopped and given a warning or a citations/summons almost doubled. Additionally, the percentage of people who were given a citations/summons instead of a warning has significantly increased. In 2016, 59% of people stopped were given a citation/summons. In 2017, 80% of the people stopped were given a citation/summons.
  • Ninety-one percent of citations/summons were issued to Black people – 72% Black men, 20% Black women and 46% Black youth (under 25 years of age). Black children as young as seven have been stopped.
  • Metro Police targeted stops heavily used by youth of color with 15% of all stops in or around Gallery Place and 14% in or around the Anacostia station.

WMATA’s own data clearly shows that Metro Police are enforcing the statute almost exclusively against Black people, particularly in African-American neighborhoods (Anacostia) or in parts of the City in which African Americans come in contact with Whites (Gallery Place Chinatown).

Read full article.

Read full report.

Get the newsletter