Actor Levar Burton went on CNN to talk about race and policing and explained how he handles traffic stops. Don Lemon also recounts some of his experiences dealing with the police. Watch this video:
In the early 90s, I was doing comedy in Grand Blanc, Michigan (Grand Blanc means “great white” — and that is not a coincidence) with a comic named Rodney Johnson. He and I were riding from the hotel to the club together in his van when we got pulled over by the police. The ostensible reason for pulling him over was that he had a burned out license plate light, but the real reason was obviously that he was flagrantly driving while black in a lily white town.
The next thing we know, they haul us out of the van, cuff us and throw us in the back of the police car because the plate came back as stolen. They spend about 45 minutes searching the van and, of course, find nothing. Then they come back and tell us, “Oh, we made a mistake. When we called in the license plate number, the dispatcher got one of the numbers wrong and it came back as stolen, but now we know it’s not. Sorry. You’re free to go.” All of that was bullshit, of course. They were simply harassing a black man driving through their town.