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Evidence and anecdotes say whether it's Beltrami County in the north, or Hennepin County in the metro, African-Americans, American Indians and other people of color are disproportionately represented in police stops, courtrooms and jails. Minnesota leads the nation in the rate at which it imprisons non-whites. For every white person sent to prison in Minnesota, 21 people of color are imprisoned. A criminal justice system in a democracy functions only if the people believe it is fair and efficient. But racial bias, or the perception of racial bias, may be eroding confidence in the Minnesota justice system.

See a list of Web sites and other resources about race and justice in America.

"One officer, who pulled over my fiancé in north Minneapolis as he was leaving a gas station, actually told my fiancé that he knew my fiancé was a drug dealer and followed him for quite awhile. We are not drug dealers, we both work; he in the medical field, I in the legal field." More


Listen to an archived broadcast of the Color of Justice Issues and Answers Forum, and learn more about the summit Is There Racial Bias in the Minnesota Criminal Justice System?

Online Editor: Bob Collins
Art Director: Darby Laing
Production Supervisor: Michael Wells
Researcher: Betsy Cole
Civic Journalism Director: Leonard Witt
Broadcast Editor: Mike Edgerly

Racial Profiling painting by Ryan Kelly. Used by permission.

Racial disparities, an overview
By Dan Olson.
Once in the criminal justice system, black men in Minnesota are prosecuted, convicted and sentenced at a higher rate than whites. Anecdotes and evidence from other parts of the state hint at a similar pattern - for blacks and American Indians.
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Accountability in the urban justice system
By Elizabeth Stawicki.
No one seems to know why Minnesota's predominantly white population turns overwhelmingly non-white inside the state's prison gates. But in the end, judges have the responsibility for sending people to jail.
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American Indians and the rural justice system
By Dan Gunderson
In Beltrami County about 20 percent of the population is American Indian, but nearly half of those arrested and jailed are Indian.
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The new disparities
By Brandt Williams.
The growth of Latinos, Hmong and Somali in Minnesota has broadened the scope of the disparities issue The police and courts are trying to adjust to the increasing diversity, but some say the changes aren't coming fast enough.
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Driving While Black
By Brandt Williams.
Three African-American men discuss the disparities of life as black men in a largely white society.
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Continuing Coverage
From MPR News

•Though domestic abuse rates are equal among races, African American arrests rates are higher (5/20/02).
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