Racial Profiling
by Randall Stevens

Racial profiling is a reality and I know that. I simply asked the question as to why you were driving without a valid license. That question has now been answered. I had a friend who had the same thing happen to him.

He had moved and had changed his address with the Highway Department. He did not pay a ticket for speeding.....he said he simply forgot and I believe him. He was stopped for no brake lights (which was true), taken from his vehicle in view of his children, searched, cuffed and hauled away to jail. It turns out that the notice of his suspension had been mailed to the wrong address. They had the correct address but didn't use it for some reason. I agreed to defend my friend in court and the prosecutor was a man of some common sense (not a lot, but some). The charges were dropped.

Would the same have happened to a white man? I doubt it. In defense of the police, driving with a suspended license is a good indicator of other legal problems and statistically that kind of traffic stop is shown to increase the danger to the officer. Most police agencies now instruct officers to conduct a "felony" stop for a suspended license.

Profiling based solely on race is wrong. I have a hard time finding many white people who disagree. Even President Bush called for an end to the practice. But then again, so did President Clinton. We'll just have to see which of them really meant it......if either of them did. I will say this....Bush did not say that to keep the people who voted for him happy.

Ninty per cent of black people voted against him. Maybe he really did mean it. Again, I'm sorry that this has happened to you as it has happened to thousands of others. I hope for a day when we have to tell our grandchildren what it was like to be stopped because of color ... I hope they don't have to worry about it.


TRUE DEMOCRACY     SPRING 2001     Copyright © 2001 by News Sourse, Inc.