TRUE DEMOCRACY SPRING 2001 TABLE OF CONTENTS
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.