Here’s one reason cameras for police encounters are totally worth their Salt (n Pepa). Dorthy Bland, a dean of journalism at University of North Texas, claimed she was racially profiled by two white police offices, who stopped her as she exercised on the street. The catch? There’s dash camera footage and it’s actually pretty bland. See what I did there?
Okay, first thing’s first: how is flailing your arms up and down exercise? Did I miss the latest workout tape, or is that the latest and greatest stretch they’re talking about in this month’s Cosmo?
Secondly, as one of the officers pointed out, they followed her (she had a hoodie up, so kind of hard to tell her race) for 20 seconds or so, and she had no idea there was a car behind her. Which is exactly why an officer suggested if she insisted on walking on the street, she face the traffic. An actual racist SOB could’ve mowed her down and she would never have seen it coming.
Thirdly, as the officers also point out, walking on the street when there’s a sidewalk? Huh? Sorry, maybe it’s racist for even asking, but isn’t the purpose of a sidewalk to get people off the streets, which is for, you know, cars? I know, I know, racism.
Dorthy Bland is upset that the cops talked to her, yes, but she’s also in a twist because they asked to see her ID. As if asking for ID is racist. Well, that’s what the Democrats say every time Voter ID laws come up, but police asking for ID is standard operating procedure, especially if they’ve stopped someone for doing something silly. Like walking on the street away from traffic and not on the sidewalk. So hopefully this wouldn’t need to made into a big deal. Please don’t make this a big thing? Ah hell, here comes Bland on WaPo:
“Walking while black is a crime in many jurisdictions,” Bland wrote. “May God have mercy on our nation.”
This maybe a case of much ado about nothing. Police ask for IDs. Sure, you’re not legally required to if you’ve done nothing wrong. But that doesn’t mean their motives are inherently sinister. One reason is for safety, they want to know who they’re talking to. Remember, police are being targeted right now just for being police, so asking “who are you?” is kind of standard procedure. Secondly, they didn’t arrest Bland, they didn’t handcuff her, they didn’t harass her, they didn’t even make racially charged jokes which are offensive-but-secretly-kind-of-funny. They called in her ID to verify she was who she claimed to be and sent her on her merry way.
Call it my cis-white-male privilege talking, but I’m prreeeettyyy sure a white person would be treated the same way. Cordially, respectfully, with care for safety, and ID called in. Bland was the one who got touchy and upset about the cops questions. Of course it’s your constitutional right to not answer said questions, but again, the doesn’t prove inherently sinister motives. Cops ask questions. They’re the police. That’s what they do.
Pro-tip to anyone who doesn’t want to talk with the police: if there’s a sidewalk around, just use it. You’re welcome.