Black people in Florida are three times more likely to receive tickets for loud music: analysis

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A new analysis is highlighting the disparities between white and Black drivers in Florida and their interactions with law enforcement.

According to The Orlando Sentinel, the analysis — which features a compilation of traffic data and court records — indicates that Black drivers in the Sunshine State are "nearly three times more likely to be ticketed by police and sheriff’s deputies under a law that allowed law enforcement to cite drivers for loud music starting last year."

"The analysis showed that Black drivers received almost 37% of the tickets, despite Black people making up only about 16% of Florida’s driving-eligible population," the report reads. "Law enforcement cited Black drivers at a rate of just over 11 tickets per 100,000 Black drivers, and cited white drivers at a rate of 3.9 tickets per 100,000 white drivers."

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Per the news outlet, the analysis was part of an investigative study conducted by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. One example of the investigative findings focused on an incident involving a Florida resident Carven Exantus.

According to the report, Exantus has "been ticketed five times for loud music – at $129 each – by police in Miami Beach, including twice the same day 90 minutes apart in October. Exantus, who is Black, beat four of the tickets in court, so far. His most recent ticket was the afternoon of March 9 along Ocean Drive. He has pleaded not guilty."

“We’re getting harassed to the point where I can’t even conduct business,” Exantus said.

He also included a message to law enforcement saying, “Stop being racists, simple. Something is disproportionately affecting one group, and it’s designed to be that way. If it’s walking and quacking like a duck, it’s a duck. It’s racist.”

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Exantus also shared details about some of his interactions with police.

“It’s up to the cop’s discretion,” Exantus said. “I’ve asked, ‘Can you show me and prove to me that we’re being too loud?’ Then they get really mad, and they’ll definitely give me two tickets after that.”

The report also adds, "Across Florida, Miami Beach issued the most loud music tickets, at 155 – with 75 for Black drivers. The sheriff’s office in Jacksonville issued 67, with 49 for Black drivers. In Gainesville, where police ticketed [Sim Oliver Crum Jr.] and the police chief is Black, officers wrote 26, with 21 for Black drivers. A police spokesman there, Sgt. Joseph Castor, said he was not immediately available for an interview."

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