That black drivers are routinely stopped by police on the flimsiest of pretexts is now common knowledge. Just a few days ago, I wrote about comedian Chris Rock’s experience of being repeatedly stopped by police and actor Isaiah Washington’s advice to him to drive a cheaper car if he wanted to not arouse police suspicions.
Washington’s suggestion that black people driving expensive cars make for a more likely target received support from the report yesterday of a South Carolina policeman shooting eight bullets into Walter L. Scott, a 50-year Coast Guard veteran and father of four, as he ran away. Video captured by a bystander seem to show that the police officer was in no danger, made no attempt to resuscitate him, and planted a Taser near the body, all in support of the false report that the police officer filed after the death.
What caused the police to stop Scott in the first place? The claim was that he had a broken tail light. That this is a preposterous reason is obvious because driving around the streets of America one can find cars with broken headlights and other much more serious problems.
But the other clue that has not been widely reported is that Scott’s car was a Mercedes Benz and then the story becomes clearer. In the minds of police, this is the operative equation:
So while driving while black is now a cause for being stopped by police, driving an expensive car while black is even more so.
And remember, if there had been no video, the false police report would have been taken as the final word. The video is all over the internet. Ryan Grim and Nick Wing write the news report that would likely have appeared if there had been no video evidence.
Andy Campbell reports that there is a bill in Texas that would bar bystanders from recording the actions of police within 25 feet. Because clearly police must be given the freedom to murder people with impunity and lie about it afterwards.