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Midland County Sheriff's Office Says Recent Racial Profiling Report Is Wrong

Sheriff Gary Painter Standing in front of a pump jack. (Mira Oberman/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

By Mitch Borden

Despite accounting for only 20 percent of county drivers, Hispanics in Midland County were more likely to be pulled over than any other group in 2018, according to the county' sheriff's racial profiling report. But county officials now say that information is incorrect.

Out of the 3,180 stops Midland County officers made last year, more than half of the stops were for Hispanic drivers. That raised some questions since in years past white drivers have been pulled over more often than any other group in Midland County.

The Sheriff’s office is now claiming the new report and the numbers its based on — are wrong.

“We’ve always stopped more Whites than Hispanics or any other race," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.

Painter said it didn’t take him long to realize something was off with the numbers that showed Hispanics were disproportionately pulled over more than White and Black drivers. He also said the report was calculated incorrectly after the staff member who normally put it together left the department. He’s assigned a captain to go through all the data and redo the entire report.

“We found a bunch of numbers that were wrong," said Painter. "So he’s going through all the numbers and reclassifying them so we don’t make the same mistake twice.”

The annual racial profiling report is required by the state and details how many traffic stops the office performs every year and looks at who’s pulled over.

Painter expects the new report to be released soon.


Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.