Black mo­torists ly­ing on cops: Who’s do­ing racial pro­fil­ing?

Manteca Bulletin - - Opinion - LARRY EL­DER Au­thor

In the last few weeks, three black mo­torists, in­clud­ing an NAACP chap­ter pres­i­dent, made bla­tantly false al­le­ga­tions against per­fectly cour­te­ous po­lice officers.

Now who’s “racially pro­fil­ing”?

First, in Tim­monsville, S.C., lo­cal NAACP Pres­i­dent the Rev. Jer­rod Moul­trie put up a lengthy post on his Face­book page: “Tonight, I was racially pro­filed by Tim­monsville Of­fi­cer CAUSE I WAS DRIV­ING A MERCEDES BENZ AND GO­ING HOME IN A NICE NEIGH­BOR­HOOD.” The rev­erend claimed the of­fi­cer told him, “I am do­ing you a fa­vor tonight not tak­ing you to jail or writ­ing you a ticket.”

Tim­monsville Po­lice Chief Billy Brown said Moul­trie con­tacted him the next morn­ing with his ac­cu­sa­tions of racial pro­fil­ing and mis­treat­ment. “He made a com­ment that the of­fi­cer accused him of hav­ing drugs in the car,” said Brown. “He said that his wife and grand­child was in the car. He asked them not to move be­cause the of­fi­cer looked as if he might shoot them or some­thing. He also made men­tion that the of­fi­cer con­tin­ued to ask him about his neigh­bor­hood. Why was he in that neigh­bor­hood? And (threat­ened) to put him in jail in ref­er­ence to some­thing deal­ing with the reg­is­tra­tion to the ve­hi­cle.”

But Chief Brown re­viewed the body cam video of the four-minute traf­fic stop. It showed a very po­lite of­fi­cer ex­plain­ing he pulled the car over for fail­ing to sig­nal a left turn and re­mind­ing the oc­cu­pants to wear their seat belts. Brown said: “When I saw the video, I was shocked that some­one who is sup­posed to be a com­mu­nity leader, a pas­tor, and head of the NAACP would just come out and tell a bla­tant lie. It both­ered me. It re­ally both­ered me, think­ing about the racial un­rest it could’ve cost in the com­mu­nity and it’s just trou­bling to me that some­one who held a po­si­tion like that would come out and just tell a lie.” The Rev. Moul­trie re­moved his orig­i­nal Face­book post, and re­fused fur­ther com­ment.

Sec­ond, a black South Carolina woman said she had a “trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence” in Vir­ginia when pulled over for speed­ing and “threat­ened” by a “white cop.” Dawn Hil­ton-Wil­liams posted an 11-minute Face­book Live video ac­cus­ing a Brunswick County Sher­iff’s Of­fice deputy of racism af­ter she was or­dered to sign a sum­mons ask­ing her to ap­pear in court or pre­pay a traf­fic ticket.

“I have had a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence, and I want the peo­ple who are not African-Amer­i­can who know me to re­ally get where we are com­ing from,” Hil­ton-Wil­liams says. “When I saw the po­lice pull up be­hind me, the state trooper, I was im­me­di­ately afraid. ...

“This is the area,” she says, mov­ing the cam­era to show the ru­ral road. “In the mid­dle of this kind of stuff. This is where I am, so it’s not like I’m not afraid, be­cause this is where we got lynched. ... Do any of my white friends ... feel like that when they get pulled over?” Hil­ton-Wil­liams says the “bully” cop “threat­ened” to “pull her out” of the car for re­fus­ing to sign the ticket and was “de­grad­ing” her “as an African-Amer­i­can.” Her Face­book footage — taken right af­ter she was stopped — was widely shared.

But the body cam video tells a dif­fer­ent story. The of­fi­cer, ad­dress­ing her as “Ma’am,” ex­plains he clocked her go­ing 70 mph on a ru­ral high­way that has a 55 mph limit. Asked to

sign the sum­mons for speed­ing, she re­peat­edly re­fuses. The of­fi­cer ex­plains: “What you are sign­ing here is a prom­ise to come to court or a prom­ise to pre­pay. It’s not an ad­mis­sion of guilt. ... If you refuse to sign the sum­mons, at this point, I’m go­ing to have to get you out­side of this car, I’m go­ing to place you un­der ar­rest and take you in front of a mag­is­trate. I will get your ve­hi­cle towed. ... You do not have a choice but to sign this sum­mons. So once again, you’re sign­ing right there. So thank you. I knew you were go­ing to sign it. Thank you very much. ... Have a very safe day.”

Third, a vi­ral post last week by civil rights “ac­tivist” Shaun King claimed that in El­lis County, Texas, a Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety trooper sex­u­ally as­saulted a black woman, Sherita Dixon-Cole, fol­low­ing a traf­fic stop, then ar­rested her for driv­ing while in­tox­i­cated. King wrote: “The of­fi­cer first com­mu­ni­cated to Sherita that he would be will­ing to let her go if she per­formed sex­ual fa­vors for him, then pro­ceeded to sex­u­ally as­sault her, touch­ing her un­der her skirt,” King said in an in­ter­view. But two days later, the TDPS re­leased a nearly two-hour body cam video and is­sued the fol­low­ing state­ment: “The video shows ab­so­lutely no ev­i­dence to sup­port the egre­gious and un­sub­stan­ti­ated ac­cu­sa­tions against the Trooper dur­ing the DWI ar­rest of the suspect. The De­part­ment is ap­palled that any­one would make such a de­spi­ca­ble, slan­der­ous and false ac­cu­sa­tion.”

When a cop is caught on tape mis­treat­ing a suspect, many say, “Imag­ine what would’ve hap­pened had this not been filmed by a civil­ian with a smart­phone.” But this cuts both ways. How of­ten do civil­ians falsely ac­cuse po­lice officers of mis­con­duct?

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