What It Feels Like to Be Pulled Over for a Minor Traffic Violation While Black

Sandy Holman
Sandy Holman

It has been two years since the death of Eric Garner and nearly two years since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson set off explosive pushback that has reverberated around the country.

We have long known that the experiences of African Americans with police have been markedly different from that of white America.  Within white communities, there is a pervasive belief that, if police orders are followed, citizens have little to worry about.  That is not the case for many blacks in this community and the nation as a whole.

For them, the shooting in Minnesota where the individual had no criminal record and lawfully carried a gun, is a warning that no one is safe.  While details are still emerging there, early accounts had Philando Castile properly alerting the officer to the presence of his gun and following orders to get his identification when he was shot in his own vehicle.

That incident was fresh in the mind of local resident and respected activist Sandy Holman, founder of the non-profit, Culture C.O.-O.P., who was the passenger a few nights ago when her husband was pulled over on a very minor traffic incident.

Ms. Holman and her husband went to a late workout at the gym.  She explained that she hates to be alone when stopped by a police officer, stating, “That’s just kind of the negative conditioning that people of color have to deal with on varying levels, depending on their experience with departments around the country.”

They had stopped at Carl’s Jr., and were driving home when they saw the flashing lights behind them.  Quickly they wondered what was wrong, as her husband Mark, was driving the speed limit.  “We knew that there was nothing that we were blatantly doing that should cause someone to have to stop us,” she said.

They pulled into a private parking lot along Covell.  Her husband Mark made sure his hands were on the steering wheel.

She said, “Because of the current climate, everyone’s edgy and I, more than usual.”  She said this wasn’t the first time she had been stopped for a reason that wasn’t worth being stopped for.  She explained, “I felt a sheer terror.”  Sandy Holman explained that later she was saddened by that initial reaction.

“I could have been perfectly dealing with a nice cop, who knows.  But the fact that they had stopped us for no apparent reason was not comforting to me,” she explained.

The female officer, after running their information, would finally explain the reason for the stop.  Ms. Holman told the Vanguard that, given everything that is going on, she was surprised to be stopped on such a minor matter.  “We were surprised when she said that the middle light between the two rear brake lights… there’s a light in between was out.”

She was unaware that the light was out but the officer explained that having the light out is an offense that could give them a ticket.

It is important to know, in this case, the officer involved did nothing that was improper.  I had a few long conversations with some of the leadership over at the Davis Police Department about stops like these.  Based on those conversations, it is clear that the police departments, especially here locally, understand that policing is in need of changes and reforms.

At the same time, they are stuck in a bit of a dilemma here.  They can pull someone over for a very minor offense that they consider a safety issue, or they can let some of these go.

One problem with these sorts of stops is that they may be less about safety and more about using a minor offense as a pretext to stop someone and investigate whether they have a warrant or they are committing a larger violation.

But it is important, as well, for the police to understand what these types of stops are doing to the people who are on the receiving end of them.  Especially now, in the wake of a number of high profile shootings, people are on edge.

For Sandy Holman and her husband, they wanted to say – when learning of the reason for the stop, “are you kidding?  Because we were shocked.”  Both of them were really upset at the encounter, but managed to hold it together.

“I’ve been stopped by the police before, some for justified reasons, maybe I was going slightly over the speed limit and some for kind of this reason where it just seems random,” she said.  “This just made me uncomfortable because of the current environment.”

The officer let them go with only a warning.

But, as she left, Sandy Holman kept thinking about the young man who was pulled over with a busted taillight, who did not live through his encounter.  Ms. Holman has a brother who has been pulled over at least 23 times, and one time he had guns pulled on him as he was mistaken for a robbery suspect.

A few years ago in Davis, a 60-something man, Eli Davis, was mowing his lawn when a police officer approached him.  At the time, the police had received a call about a potential burglary suspect in the area and were given only a very vague description of a black male.

Mr. Davis would later write to the Davis Enterprise his outrage and humiliation at being asked on his own property to provide identification.  It later turned out the 911 call had mistaken a traveling sales person for a potential burglar.

For Sandy Holman, unfortunately, she has come to believe that police encounters of this type have become part of the lives of people of color, particularly black people, in this country.

Ms. Holman said these things have happened in the past but she didn’t talk about it.  “This time I was struck by the tenacity of it in the environment that we’re in.  Not a good idea on her part and really seemed random on our part.”

At the same time, while she wanted to express how this made her feel, she said, “I do not want to pick apart our police department.  I don’t think they’re any different from others who are trying to deal with these issues.”

“But it’s more important to the greater lesson for people to understand that this does happen and we can be proactive and do things to make a difference if we’re strategic about it.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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85 thoughts on “What It Feels Like to Be Pulled Over for a Minor Traffic Violation While Black”

  1. Barack Palin

    I can’t believe you even bothered to write this story.  I’ll bet everyone regardless of color have been pulled over for a small issue like this.  I’m a light skinned caucasian and I’ve been pulled over for tail lights beinng out and once for a slightly cracked windshield.  My first reaction was also “what did I do”?  I’ve received two seat belt tickets.  I’ve been pulled over for driving erratically, whatever that meant.  I was leaving a bar and the officer was obviously sitting on that bar trying to catch DUI’s.  I’ve had to do four DUI tests after having a few beers with my softball buddies, passed them all.  In every case I was pulled over for some supposed small infraction.

    In Davis I was once stopped by two cops while walking through a park.  One cop stood back with his hand on his holster as the other cop approached me.  He asked me a few questions and looked at my ID.  Then he apologized and explained that they were looking for a suspect and let me go on my way.  I understood and it didn’t bother me.

    This couple’s light was out, the officer was nice and they only got a warning.  People need to relax and get the chip off of their shoulders and we have to stop ratcheting up the hyperbole with non stories like this.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I wrote the story because it highlights how someone feels when they are pulled. I’m also trying to get a story on what it feels to be the officer in a case like this and what officers are looking for. I think we need to start bridging the gap and this is a start.

      1. Tia Will


        As a white woman who was recently very uncomfortable ( anxious, not inconvenienced, or with a chip on my shoulder) during a traffic stop, I truly appreciate this article. Some traffic stops seem completely justifiable for safety reasons. I was unknowingly speeding and thus should have been stopped. However, with the current documentation of multiple police shootings due to “misunderstandings” I was on edge when pulled over by a police officer unknown to me. I can only imagine that a police officer might feel the same way given the number of police injured or killed doing what are apparently routine stops.

        I look forward to such a story from the point of view of the police. It seems to me that an anxious officer, combined with an anxious civilian is a recipe for an unfortunate event.

      2. tribeUSA

        “I wrote the story because it highlights how someone feels when they are pulled.”

        This is fine; everyone has a different anecdote and feels differently about situations like this. It seems to me the recent hysteria about being pulled over by cops is being fueled mainly by the media–notwithstanding the case of the Minnesota man who was shot while reaching for his license/registration; I don’t know if the odds are any higher of getting killed by a paranoid cop than getting killed by a paranoid or criminal stranger anywhere else; or getting struck by lightning–low on the risk scale; it really is a very rare occurrence.

        I had ‘the talk’ when I was 16 and got my license. My dad told me that if I was pulled over by a cop to keep my hands on the steering wheel, do what the cop said, and don’t give him any guff. I’ve been pulled over about 15 times total in my life; all for minor vehicle or traffic infarctions (no speeding tickets; I’ve always been a cautious driver–no accidents for 20 years now). I haven’t been fearful of being shot by a cop; although in the last decade or so when I’ve been pulled over I am very careful to tell the cop that my ID is in my wallet in my back pocket (then I reach for it slowly) and my registration is in the glove compartment (then I retrieve it slowly), and I avoid sudden movements–my ‘tude is that of cooperation–police often have to take a lot of crap by some people, and I don’t want to add stress to their lives, I appreciate their jobs and try to make things less stressful and more pleasant for them if I can–that quaint old notion of simple courtesy; which I extended even to two cops who seemed to be in a bad mood (one gruff and one seeming a bit irritated/angry); I think they appreciated that I didn’t add to the crapola that may have been spewed their way that day (though admittedly I did make a very brief effort to whine my way out of traffic tickets a couple of times when I was younger; it didn’t work!)

    2. Frankly

      It seems to me that liberals are back to advocating that as a society we just ignore low-level crimes and to reduce activity attempting to obtain suspects within the goal of preventing crime.  I think we have been down this road before in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and frankly is sucked for most law-abiding residents.   You can see how this is working in San Francisco where vehicles are vandalized at a very high rate.

  2. Tia Will


     I’ll bet everyone regardless of color have been pulled over for a small issue like this.”

    The question for me is not does it happen to everyone, the question is should it happen to anyone at ? Does it make anyone any safer to make a traffic stop for an inconsequential problem with a car ?  It has been demonstrated repeatedly that misunderstandings and mistaken identities can lead to tragic consequences for both police injured during stops and for civilians stopped.

    I am certainly no expert in this area but I do have to at least ask, is a broken tail light worth either the life of the officer or the driver ? Given current technology, would it not be possible for the observing officer to call in the plate number and a notification be sent to the owner of the vehicle that a repair is needed ?  Could motorists not be given a reasonable amount of time to demonstrate evidence of repair of the problem and a fine issued if the repair is not made ?  Why is their any need at all for a minor vehicular defect stop ?

    1. hpierce

      Folks, think about it… if a light is not important in letting other drivers know what your intentions are:  turning, braking, backing… then what the hell was the car manufacturer thinking of by including it?

      I’ve come reasonably close to an accident when I was missing “clues” due to malfunctioning lights on the car ahead of me.

      When I first learned to drive, Dad taught me that periodically it is smart to have someone walk around my parked vehicle while all the lights are tested… simple and increases safety.  Once every 3 months should do it… even with pretty new cars, I’ve seen malfunctioning lights, and if I have the opportunity, without going out of my way to let the driver know, I do… every time I have, the driver was appreciative.  They didn’t know there was an issue.

      So many times I’ve seen cars with a broken tail-light or turn signal light lens and just used colored cellophane to “fix it”.  That might suffice for a week until you can get it fixed, but c’mon!  Get it fixed!

      1. hpierce

        BTW… if you have a light burn out, it is best to replace not just the bulb, but its “twin”… think about it…  same ‘age’, likely same “lot”.  Replacing a bulb, in many cases, changes the flow of electricity in a circuit… often making it more likely that the “twin” is not long for this world.

        And, sometimes it’s not the bulb, but a fuse… cheap and easy to replace, as well…

        End of my PSA for today…

      2. Tia Will


         if a light is not important in letting other drivers know what your intentions are:  turning, braking, backing”

        Who said anything at all about a light not being important ? What I laid out was an alternative means of notification that does not involve a traffic stop. The owner would still be notified and expected to make the repair. How is this “ignoring” anything ?

        1. hpierce

          Who said anything about ‘ignoring’?  Why are you putting words in my “post”?  The fact is, you didn’t say that it was important, all you did was question “stops” for equipment failure. [and some time delayed alternatives]

          OK, so an officer notes a malfunctioning taillight… they should wait until their shift is over (after taking down all the information to notify LATER)?  Leaving the car to go on its way with no clue?  Potentially endangering many other other drivers until the data was logged in processed, mail notification sent?  Do you realize ‘asking’ defensive/leading questions all the time may be a sign of a passive-aggressive personality?

          Are you catching my drift?

        2. Barack Palin

          Hpierce, your example of an officer waiting until after his shift could lead to major lawsuits.  An officer sees a tail light out and doesn’t notify car owner until sometime later while in the meantime that car is involved in an accident where the broken tail light was considered the cause.  I imagine it would be a major lawsuit for the city and police dept.

          That’s why cops can’t let you slide if you’re suspected of a DUI.  If they let you go and you end up hurting or killing someone the PD is also held culpable.

    2. Roberta Millstein

      The question for me is not whether everyone sometimes gets pulled over for minor things (they do), it’s how often it happens to people and how that correlates with their apparent race.  And what happens after they get pulled over and how that correlates with their apparent race.

      1. South of Davis

        Roberta wrote:

        > The question for me is not whether everyone sometimes gets pulled

        > over for minor things (they do), it’s how often it happens to people

        > and how that correlates with their apparent race.

        The question to ask is “are black people being pulled over more often because they are black or are they being pulled over more often because they have more problems with their cars”?

        When you see a late model Mercedes or Range Rover (that has all the lights checked each time it is in for warranty work) there is a good chance the driver will be white.

        When you see a 20 year old Buick with the rear bumper held on by duct tape and an electrical system that has been hacked up adding subwoofers to the trunk causing the tail lights to blink on and off there is a good chance that the driver will be black (or hispanic).

        1. Barack Palin

          RM, I think what SOD is referring to is in general.  People with older broken down cars tend to get pulled over more than people with newer well maintained vehicles.  Of course there’s always going to be examples of exceptions to that regardless of race.

        2. Roberta Millstein

          BP, my point is that it ignores the well-established phenomenon of Black people getting pulled over because they have nice cars or because they are in the “wrong” neighborhood.  And I’d venture to guess that even among people with dilapidated cars, Black people get pulled over more frequently.

          And apparently, drivers of some pretty nice cars frequently get tickets, so it’s not even clear that the dilapidated cars are getting pulled over more often:


        3. South of Davis

          Roberta wrote:

          > So, your thought is that So, your thought is that Black people driving nice cars don’t get pulled over?

          Did I say “Black people driving nice cars don’t get pulled over”?

          No my point was the FACT that on average blacks make less money than whites and “on average” are “more likely” to be driving an older car that is “more likely” to have a mechanical problem or safety issue like bald tires.

          Do you think I am wrong to say a poor black person is more likely to have a car with a reason to be pulled over than a rich white person?

          P.S. We all know that Police unions hate Republicans.  Thanks for posting the article that shows how union members will even mess with Republicans that hold high elected office…

        4. Roberta Millstein

          Do you think I am wrong to say a poor black person is more likely to have a car with a reason to be pulled over than a rich white person?

          That’s the wrong comparison.  Let’s compare poor Black people with old cars to poor White people with old cars, then compare wealthy Black people with newer cars to wealthy White people with newer cars.  Let’s also keep in mind that things such as taillights out, etc., are only one class of the minor infractions that one can be pulled over for. For example, one could be slightly over the speed limit, not come to a full stop at the stop sign, etc.

        5. South of Davis

          Roberta wrote:

          > That’s the wrong comparison.  Let’s compare poor

          > Black people with old cars to poor White people

          > with old cars

          This may come as a shock to some people who think all cops are racist, but cops pull over poor white people AND poor black people just like they pull over rich white people AND rich black people

        6. The Pugilist


          Yes we know that police officers pull over all sorts of people.  But that’s not the issue in question and I think you know that.

        7. Roberta Millstein

          What the Pugilist said.  Of course, all sorts of people are pulled over.  No one denies that.  The question is whether, given a certain type of car, a certain type of neighborhood, etc., Black people are pulled over more frequently than White people.

  3. ryankelly

    I once was told by a friend that my tail light was out when he happened to be following me to my house one night. The bulb needed replacing.  I wondered how long I had been driving around like that – not knowing the state of my broken tail light.  Maybe tail light pull overs should go something like this: “hey, your right tail light is out. You probably don’t know, because you wouldn’t unless someone told you. Thought I should let you know, so you can get it fixed. Have a nice evening.”  And not treated as a full traffic stop, with the keep your hands in sight, license/registration/insurance, where you headed chit chat, and the warning or citation.  It seems to me that broken tail lights are treated as highly suspicious, when they really aren’t.

  4. Barack Palin

    This case was at night so I doubt the officer had any clue what race they were.  In fact it’s usually hard to tell a driver’s race when followng a car from behind even in daylight.

    Maybe bumper stickers should be produced that read:

    I’m black so you can’t stop me for incidental infractions

        1. The Pugilist

          Again, I don’t think most cops are racists.  That doesn’t mean that the tactics they use are appropriate, helpful or even-handed.  They basically are using things like taillights being out and other minor offenses to find bigger fish.  There is nothing wrong with that per se, except for a clear problem that they end up catching the same people over and over for very minor things and it completely undermines trust in segments of the community.

  5. Frankly

    The narrative need to change from “driving while black” to “driving with an attitude”… and both parties need an attitude adjustment.


  6. Frankly

    I was just thinking… if it wasn’t for the people that willfully commit violent crimes, the police could shed their weapons, wear Birkenstocks and carry a clipboard.   Maybe we should blame the people that willfully commit violent crimes for causing so much violence in general.

    That might be difficult for a social justice type that sees violent criminals as some type of victim class.

    1. The Pugilist

      The victim class are not violent criminals but ordinary citizens mistreated by the police who are not violent criminals.  There is a reason we have a Bill of Rights.

        1. The Pugilist

          I got your point, but I disagree with you – you can still catch bad guys without violating people’s rights and without undermining their trust in the system.  That’s where the profession is starting to change but people like you keep defending a broken system.

    2. Tia Will


      And I would agree with you as long as we include both civilians who use violence in the commission of crimes and police who resort to violence when it is not actually necessary to perform their job in our accusations with regard to the use of violence.

  7. WesC

    Last month got pulled over because the officer said while I turned a corner my tires crossed the solid line separating the the oncoming lane. Had to get out of my car, show my license. He also asked me where I lived.  On at least a dozen occasions when driving my 25 yr old Honda with missing hubcaps, dented fenders, & tinted windows I had officers pull out and accelerate until they are right on my tail. I have been told by a couple of officers who are friends and relatives that this is a common method used by police to get probable cause to pull you over.  When a police car suddenly pulls up behind you the natural response is to get out of their way by quickly pulling over (erratic driving, unsafe lane change), pull over without using your turn signal (failure to use turn signal), or speed up to get out of their way (exceeding speed limit).  Bought a new car 2 yrs ago and this getting right on my tail thing hasn’t happened since.

  8. Frankly

    I have a good black friend that tells me that dishonesty and embellishment is a disturbing and common trait in the black community.  We have plenty of evidence of that with recent tragic suspect-cop encounters “Hands up, Don’t Shoot”.

    I distrust a percentage of the stories I hear that are accusatory of “racist” cops.  I distrust a percentage of details of the stories of encounters with cops.  I attribute a percentage of the people reporting feelings of being unfairly treated by cops as explained by the giant chip residing on their shoulder.

    There is a narrative that serves as tonic for the hypersensitive victim-obsessed and also serves as a good deflective political wedge issues for those holding political and ideological views that are responsible for the negative economic trajectory of the black community that has also led to the collapse of social capital in the black community.

    One last point.  Cops tend to pull over certain types of cars fitting a profile of being popular with law-breaking suspects.  The statics would show for example very few Prius cars being pulled over.

    1. The Pugilist

      “Cops tend to pull over certain types of cars fitting a profile of being popular with law-breaking suspects.”

      They basically are using things like taillights being out and other minor offenses to find bigger fish.  The problem is that that by itself is still a low percentage, so you are pissing off a large number of people to catch a few suspects.  There is nothing wrong with that per se, except for a clear problem that they end up catching the same people over and over for very minor things and it completely undermines trust in segments of the community.


      1. South of Davis

        The Pugilist wrote:

        > The problem is that that by itself is still a low percentage,

        > so you are pissing off a large number of people to catch

        > a few suspects.

        In the mid 80’s I waited until just before my registration was due to get a smog check (that I failed) so I paid the fees but could not get a sticker until I put in a new idle control valve (ICV).  While waiting for the part to come in the mail I drove to work three times on the first three days of the month after my registration expired and I got pulled over EVERY SINGLE DAY (three days in a row by different cops).  I had all the paperwork showing the registration was paid and the part was ordered but I still got two tickets.  On the third day the cop was a little nicer and didn’t give me a ticket and after we started talking about the challenges of getting older cars to pass smog I asked why they were so focused on going after a clean cut white guys driving stock quiet boring 4cyl cars one day after the tags expired and he said in the past year 89% of expired registration pull overs by his department resulted in something else like a “stolen car” “felon on the run” “kidnap victim in the back seat” etc…

        1. Frankly

          This gets back to my question: do we support law enforcement attempting to use clues to question people thus improving the odds of catching serious law breakers at the cost of inconvenience to those who are innocent or only guilty of minor offenses?

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Interesting point. Yes, and the embellishment is excused because of history and / or “you know the pigs are always screwing us over”.

      Driving violations. My experience is that if you have a tail light violation in Oakland you are more apt to be ignored, whereas you’ll get pulled over in a micro second n Palo Alto, or Los Gatos … they  have very little crime and can focus on smaller violations.

  9. Sam

    Can I get a complete list of laws that I do not have to follow? I had been under the impression that I needed to follow ALL of them and that they would ALL be enforced. Here is my list so far:

    Broken tail light

    Expired registration

    Running stop signs

    Working illegally in the US

    Selling untaxed cigarettes

    Strong armed robbery……

  10. Dave Hart

    Google “mansplaining”, then read it as “whitesplaining”.  That’s what this ends up being about in too many of the comments posted here.

        1. Barack Palin

          I was talking to Dave Hart.  But go read the article, you’ll see what I mean.

          Debra Deangelo wrote it.

          “We need to stop whitesplaining racism in law enforcement”

      1. Dave Hart

        Nothing ad hominem about it at all, quielo.  I don’t agree with Debra on many things, but her column definitely hit the nail on the head this time.  And Debra did not invent it, but she did a good job of putting it up for discussion in her column, which is what columnists are supposed to do.  I would go a step further and suggest that whitesplainers are usually mansplainers as well.  It’s all part of the same deal.


        1. a combining form extracted from mansplain, and meaning “to explain or comment on something in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner, from the perspective of the group one identifies with,” as in ladysplain; whitesplain:
        racism being whitesplained to a person of color.

        Never thought I’d quote George W Bush, but “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this is…

        And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose. But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values.”

        That is something many on this blog need to think about.

      1. tribeUSA

        Yes, wretched and nauseating–conceited asses that invent these terms which serve to further the racial divide–must we use different terms for when whites are talking than when blacks and asians are talking–how does this promote inter-racial understanding and racial healing?–instead of stereotyping whites, deal with each argument by each person on its own merits, independent of the ‘color’ of the person advancing the argument–how about it, jack? (not addressed to Frankly!)

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Do you ever notice when Obama replies to these huge terrorist death scenes, his eyes are downcast, he speaks more softly, and seems to lack true conviction? … But when a white cop is accused of something before the investigation is even finished, he is breathing fire and brimstone?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You’re misreading the body language – he’s expressing that he considers this a deeply somber moment.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          I don’t believe so, I believe we are witnessing a weak leader who is lost, but has great anger towards the GOP / conservatives. What an irony.

          His Attorney General said we would beat terrorism “with love”. Yesterday Obama said we would beat it with “diplomacy”. Looks like he’s lost to me. Did we beat the Nazi’s with love, or B52’s and the military?

          I’m told Obama only listens to 4 people, 2 of those being Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett (Obama’s brain). Ugh.

        1. Dave Hart

          I think the key to the concept of “splaining” is the degree to which the “splainer” is being arrogant, condescending, inaccurate or over-simplifying.  Obviously, as none other than “W” said in his speech in Dallas a couple days ago, “splaining” is what happens when “we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions” and do it so confidently that we don’t allow for any kind of nuance.  Not every cop is a racist thug, not every black person is a saint; not every cop is a saint, not every black person is a racist thug.  But then, I’m posting under my real name…

        2. tribeUSA

          I think most of the moniker sign-ins are those that dare to express opinions that run contrary to the current dominant propaganda as promulgated by the mainstream media, and who also have jobs–the career of anyone who publicly expresses such heretical opinions is in definite jeopardy–there is an effective form of facism (job denial, which is denial of the bio-survival tickets called money) that quashes free debate that challenges the programme. Those that parrot the talking points of the mainstream media, by contrast, will likely find that more doors are opened to them. It is one of the necessary initiatory steps which makes you eligible for handsome monetary rewards. When I retire; I do plan to speak my mind more fully (and I will have time for more social research) and do my part to help plant or disseminate more seeds that will help lead the country in a direction of growth away from the current destructive programme, which is leading everyone toward global techno-serfism.

  11. Alan Miller

    Only black people get pulled over for the old “rear light out” trick?  PU-LEEEEEEEZ!  Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been pulled over for stuff like that and let go, because they were fishing.  One time they said my license plate light was out, and I went back after the officer left and it was ON!

    Yes, I believe in some juristictions blacks are treated worse by police, I won’t deny that.  But don’t alienate the people you are trying to reach by acting like the tail light trick only happens to black people.  NOT HELPING!

  12. hpierce

    The cite Don used was credible, up to the point where the author says Mr Brown should have only been shot in the knee… right… tense situation, and the officer, using a handgun, should have aimed at an apparently moving target, at most 3 inches in diameter… that’d be a really excellent shot for a highly trained sniper with a high-powered rifle and a really good scope, perfectly adjusted, with windage figured in… somebody watched too many old movies…

    The issue remains, should a shot have been fired at all…

    1. South of Davis

      hpierce wrote:

      > That’d be a really excellent shot for a highly trained sniper

      Most cops don’t spend much time at the range (or in combat training firearms training).

      The NYT reported in 2007:

      “New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate” (hitting the criminal 182 times out of 540 shots) “In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them.”

      1. hpierce

        Reinforces that shooting a suspect in the knee isn’t that wise of a tactic… unless, perhaps the barrel of the gun is resting on the patella…

      2. hpierce

        Actually, you raise another good point… in an urban setting, if 66% of the shots don’t hit the intended target, where do they end up and who/what else might they hit?

  13. Barack Palin

    She said this wasn’t the first time she had been stopped for a reason that wasn’t worth being stopped for.  She explained, “I felt a sheer terror.”

    A little perspective here, being that only a handful of blacks end up dying per year from a routine traffic stop and over 4000 pedestrians a year die from being run down by cars should we all feel sheer terror to just cross the street?

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I’ve heard there are DOJ statistics that show that black and brown police officers shoot black citizens at 3.5 the rate of white officers… if true, is that minority-on-minority hate, or something else?

  14. Tia Will


    Are you catching my drift?”

    I am catching way more than your drift. I am catching some sarcasm, some defensiveness, and some willingness to overlook any alternatives to the way we do things now. So the driver is informed on the spot. First that does not mean that the owner is informed, it means the driver is. Anyone who has ever let their teenager borrow the family car will realize that these are not the same. I favor owner notification. I also do not think that it must be done “on the spot”. The repair will certainly not be done “on the spot” but at some later date. So unless you feel that all repairs must be done right there, on the roadside, the lag time for repair will not necessarily be any longer than with same day notification.

    And no, I am not suggesting that the officer do it after his call shirt has ended. I believe in every member of an organization working to their full capacity. Notification once the plate number is called in could be a police volunteer function or that of an office staff. The former would certainly, and the latter possibly more cost effective than the officer time taken to make the stop.

  15. Tia Will


    Your entire post of 1:52 is almost enough to make me think that Frankly may have something when he talks about “victim mentality”.

  16. TrueBlueDevil

    I’m so glad the police never ticket white people for inoperable break lights. (sarcasm)… its called a Fix it ticket!

    I think this is part of white privilege… I mean white preparation… when I have a light out, I hear about it from my neighbor, friends, sweetie, gym friend, Rodeo Drive lot attendant, you name it. “TrueBlue, did you know your left rear brake light is out??… you better get that fixed…. I’m sure the Bentley dealer will fix it for free while you sip on some organic tonic water.”

    This couple isn’t even sure if the cop knew what color they were when she pulled them over.

    I’ve been pulled over several dozen times for minor car issues, I just now realize it was all a huge conspiracy based upon race.. or was it all the Barry Manilow stickers on my car?

    I wrote about this once before. I was in a car around 2 AM with a big group, and a mouthy black friend took the wheel from me in his booze-fueled state. In a ritzy area he repeatedly drove over the center line for over 2 miles; was 10 MPH or more over the speed limit; left his blinker on for over 2 miles; and had been drinking for hours. The police officer let him off with a stern warning.

    1. South of Davis

      TBD wrote:

      > The police officer let him off with a stern warning.

      You need to read more of the mainstream media to learn that the cops “only” let your friend off because they saw he had a white friend and they did not want to inconvenience a passenger who had “white privilege”.

      When a person of color is alone in the car (or with minority friends) they either get shot or pulled out of the car to get a “Rodney King style beating” (anyone who says the cops do anything different and are not all racists out to get people of color is just “whitesplanin”)…

        1. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > Can you show me something in the mainstream media that says that?

          Did you even look?

          Fromt he past few days:

          “Police in Minn. suburb where Castile shot disproportionately arrest African-Americans” Chicago Tribune

          “In Death of Black Men and Police, A Light On Hard Truths” NBC

          “Blacks are shot and killed by police at 2.5 times the rate of whites” Washington Post

          “Two police shootings, two videos, two black men dead” CNN.com

          There are thousands of others and even the “conservative” WSJ is getting in to the race baiting act:

          “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton Says Race Played a Role in Fatal Police Shooting” Wall Street Journal

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        My understanding is that police killings of black men is almost rare. Black on black murders are commonplace … I’ve heard reports (I haven’t verified) that approx. 3500 young black men have been killed in Chicago by other young black men since Obama has been president, and BO has only commented 9 times on these 3500 murders. … I guess the ‘community organizing’ didn’t do a lot of good.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          “My understanding is that police killings of black men is almost rare. ”

          Several hundred a year are rare?

          “Black on black murders are commonplace”

          Apples and oranges. Also different economies of scale.

  17. UCDavisGrad

    To David:

    I think it’s bias that you opted NOT to mention that the DRIVER was white. MARK IS WHITE.

    David I am disappointed to read skewed journalism tha only polarizes and entices people’s sensitivites/emotions.

    As a journalist, you should know better and take responsibility for your accuracy in reporting facts.


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