A collaborative three-part initiative by the National Consumer Law Center and Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program.
In July 2016, Philando Castile, an African-American man, was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota after being stopped ostensibly for driving with a cracked taillight. The shooting spurred investigation into prior interactions the police had with Castile, as well as the broader links between traffic stops, race, and fines and fees. Castile was stopped by police while he was driving at least 29 times during a six-year period between 2006 and 2012. In 24 of those stops, Castile was charged with driving with a
suspended or revoked license, where his underlying license suspensions appear to be based on unpaid fines. Along with license suspensions or revocations, most of these stops resulted in additional fines for Castile—adding up to nearly $6,000 during the six-year period.