Caught on tape. Professor Bland and her 15 minutes of fame: Walking while black.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by FieldingMellish, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    #1
    Professor Dorothy Bland wrote an Op-Ed in the Dallas Morning News accusing cops of running their siren and lights as they approached her in a tony neighborhood in which she lived. She claims to have felt harassed and stopped because she was black and wearing a hoodie.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/l...-chief-no-officers-were-doing-their-jobs..ece

    The big OOPS! Cop cars in Houston are all outfitted with dash cams. Cop’s dash cam video contradicts university professor’s claim of police harassment. It’s easy to see that no flashing lights or sirens were on. It’s easy to see the manner and deportment of the police and what the reasons were for approaching the professor. Had it not been for the video, the officer’s would have had hell to pay for their intervention and possibly preventing the professor from being hit by a passing car or truck.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...dermined-dashcam-video-police-chief-says.html

    Professor Dorothy Brand: A real issue to press with, or an opportunist?
    _____________________

    I should say that I witnessed similar driving in my neighborhood a couple years ago. A kid on a bike was kind’a meandering, so I slowed. Wouldn’t you know? He turned half-circle right into my path, facing me; he stopped suddenly and expressed shock. He was listening with buds and didn’t hear my approach.
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    The Dean of a school of journalism, demonstrating by example that the best way to write an opinion piece is to support your opinion with facts that aren't actually verifiably correct.
     
  3. edk99 macrumors 6502a

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    How on earth did these officers even know she was black before they got out of their car?
     
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #4
    At least read the articles you post.

     
  5. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #5
    Glad there was video evidence to support the cops. This is an excellent example of why cops should be wearing cameras. It prevent people from making **** up.
     
  6. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    She hasn't made anything up?

    The only thing she seems to have got wrong is that the police put their siren on, which could be journalistic license, or just a mistake because she had headphones on.

    What I don't understand is why she was in the middle of the road, and why the police wanted identification?
     
  7. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    She's impeding traffic that apparently doesn't exist. #whencopshavenothingtodo
     
  8. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

    haxrnick

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  9. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #9
    I run on the road going toward traffic so I can see any oncoming cars. Mainly because there is less obstacles to avoid and it's a smoother surface. On the sidewalk, uneven surfaces, cracks, and etc, can cause injuries.

    I think it was B.S for the cops to stop her and also ask for I.D, but I don't think it was racist. That road looks like it gets 4 cars per hour.
     
  10. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    Why does jogging in the middle of the road mean you have to provide your ID to the police?

    Although in the UK I would say that the pavements do tend to be very unkept in comparison to the roads, with kerbs, holes etc all over the place, so joggers do run in the road a lot here.

    I imagine its not the same in the states though.
     
  11. citizenzen, Nov 5, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015

    citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    A citizen made a claim, and it looks like her claim of "sirens and lights" is false.

    But she was stopped. And IMO, she was clearly stopped for being black.

    "You should walk on the other side of the street, ma'am." Puh-leaze. :rolleyes:
     
  12. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #12
    Some minorities are making bogus claims in order to elicit sympathy , they want 15 minute of fame even if they have to lie about it
     
  13. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    of course that's behavior that's not restricted to minorities
     
  14. A.Goldberg, Nov 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Let's look at this from a somewhat psychological viewpoint...

    Given the amount of attention police and black individuals' interactions have been shown in the media, it's not entirely surprising Ms. Bland feels victimized, perhaps having a heightened sensitivity to the issue. While the police walking up to her, the stories of T. Martin, M. Brown, E. Garner, S. Bland, etc probably were spinning through her head. Would it not be surprising that given the recent media portrayal of police that a black individual might be overly reactionary to such a situation and over interpret what is actually happening?

    It's called Confirmation Bias (The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions) which includes selective perception and selective recall. There is also a term for hyped media stories/themes that elicits confirmation bias, the Hostile Media Effect. These phenomena tend to have a greater affect on people who agree with/identify the message (in this case, cops discriminate blacks).

    I think the part I would be most uncomfortable about is not the question of the address, but the calling the dispatcher for verification of the woman over the radio in front of the woman. It seems to instill a sense of the problem getting worse: "First they stopped me, one cop got out of the car, then the other, then they wanted my information, **** I don't have my ID, now they're radioing the dispatcher with my information..., what if they think I'm someone else, what if they they've wrongly accused me of something, etc."

    It's not surprising to me they took down her information, as far as I know, cops often do this as part of thorough record keeping. I've had this happen with my car broken down on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

    I don't think this appears to be a racially influenced intervention by the police. Regardless if an incident happened with the alleged pickup truck, she's running in the road while there are two open sidewalks. Additionally, I believe the officer's comment "my dog doesn't like the rain" was not meant to imply Ms. Bland as inferior. Looking for subtle escalations, it is possible the cop(s) regarded her request to take pictures as in some way threatening/confrontational, which is why he may have subtly escalated the situation again by radioing in the verification in front of her - something I would be uncomfortable about. On the other hand, it seems like in any situation verifying her info out of earshot would be wiser (i.e. going back into the police car), might imply he wasn't actually concerned.

    I see Mrs. Bland's interaction as simply the police doing their job in an upperclass community. This is the kind of policing they do when crime is low and nothing more serious happening.

    Personal Anecdote: Most would regard me as a white male. When I was 17 years old, my neighbor called the police on me reporting there was a "suspicious person" in my parent's house front yard in Connecticut. I lived in that house for 7+ consecutive years at that point. I should note, many people in that neighborhood keep to themselves, especially the older folks with FL or AZ properties who spend 1/2 the year away. It was an upscale neighborhood, big houses, big lots, spread apart, with lots of foliage, fences, driveway gates, etc. Anyways, 4 cops in 3 cars showed up, the first pair with guns drawn. They interrogated me of course and asked for identification. I'm not saying there isn't discrimination against certain races, but these situations of police verifying residents' addresses happens to all races.
     
  15. Thomas Veil, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015

    Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

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    #15
    The cops do mention that a truck had to come to a stop for her. And you can see that she's kind of "weaving" in the road -- at the curb, then away from the curb.

    The Dallas Morning News published another editorial that had this to say:

    I think that last part bears repeating:

    That tension brings me to why I don't almost automatically defend cops the way most of my friends and colleagues do. I get a fair amount of flack for not toeing that blue line.

    I'm sorry, I'm not giving cops the kind of blanket defense said friends and colleagues seem to want from me. As a rule, cops are not bad. But because of the authority involved, the job does attract some people who get off on abusing that authority. It's not a majority, not nearly. But it does happen. And the closing of police ranks around the bad ones, along with that public "defend-the-police-no-matter-what" attitude does contribute to racial tension.

    I say this knowing and working with a number of cops on a fairly regular basis. I'd defend those cops, the ones in my area, because I don't see any kind of racial profiling around here. If anything, our local cops are pretty damned professional. But that doesn't mean that police abuse, even or the non-racial variety, doesn't exist elsewhere.

    In this case, IMO, Bland is in the wrong. Her publishing that editorial was, to put it charitably, unwise, especially for a journalism dean. She gets at least two facts wrong, the "sirens" that didn't happen, and not "getting a decent answer" as to why she was being stopped. By not portraying the situation accurately, she actually weakens her editorial and its racial profiling claim.

    But, you know, we might have fewer Dorothy Blands stirring the pot if the cops would police their own better.

    Getting out into neighborhoods and walking and talking to people would help. Bland might not have tensed up so much had she met these guys before, or any cops for that matter, around, say, a shopping plaza. It used to be called walking a beat. I think it's time to return to that.
     
  16. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    And the same as if someone was crossing the street. Impeding traffic seems like an exaggerated claim.
     
  17. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    I wouldn't say it's the media. A huge portion of blacks have experienced anywhere from mild to intense bias by authorities multiple times in their life. Including myself. I personally think she's only speaking out about it cause of how publicized events have been lately, but probably would have felt the same with or without media and social media influence.

    Not that I agree with her though.
     
  18. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

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    #18
    I absolutely agree. I admit I did not include the inherent bias of the individual and their experiences. I'm not black, so I can't entirely speak to this, but I've heard the stories of how Black adults tell their children how to/not to interact with the police.

    My overall point was that being a Black American, she is likely (and not surprisingly) sensitized to the police discrimination and abuse. I don't think she made these comments trying to intentionally bait a racial discrimination suit. I too don't see a problem with this situation and I think it is a bit of an over reaction on her part. I think she handled her interaction with the police very admirably despite the immense anger she clearly feels.
     
  19. determined09 macrumors 65816

    determined09

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    #19
    What time of the day was it that your neighbor called the cops on you? Was it during day or was it at night?
     
  20. A.Goldberg, Nov 10, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

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    #20
    It was probably around 2:45 in the afternoon- shortly after getting home. It was a bright, clear, sunny Spring day. At the time, I had lived there for 7+ years. Those neighbors had been there since before that.

    There was another incident a couple years later when our alarm system broke (the electrical components in the main box somehow shorted/melted). It sent a break-in/police and a multi-zone fire signal without any indication (i.e. alarm). I was home alone but outside with my dog and didn't hear the alarm company call to verify. Only one cop showed up, similar story... Except the fire department showed up this time too.

    I suppose the interrogation was little less severe. It didn't take the officer long to notice the entire house was not on fire and there was no alarm sounding, so something must have malfunctioned.
     
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    I love all the Republicans and Conservative railing against 'safe spaces' while trying and failing to make their debates 'safe spaces'.
     
  22. mudslag macrumors regular

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    To play Devil's advocate here, the video only shows the part for when it came on, there is no way of telling how long the cops were behind her as the video starts out with them already behind her. As for sound, the sound doesn't start up til 13 secs into the video and even then it's only for a sec. It sounds like it's from one of the officers mic, not the internal dash cam or other mics, sounds from inside the car start up again at 30 secs in. You don't hear the officer that calls her back to them, the sound is still coming from the officer in the car. You don't hear the officer with the mic til about 50 secs in when he walks up to her and the other officer. So no sound of the officers talking while they are in the car is recorded or at least not released.

    The article states they activated their emergency lights, which are generally still blue red/white flashing lights. Did they fire off the siren? That can't be answered by the video, it's possible they sounded it back before the mic came on or maybe it was never sounded. Again there is no way of knowing without sound that didn't come on til the officer switched it on.

    Regarding if they knew she was black, again that depends on a number of factors. She's not wearing gloves and from what we can see in the video her hands are the only give away to her race. But on the other hand, we know from the article they did see her so it's at least fair to suggest they saw that she was in fact black. Though that doesn't make it the reason for pulling her over.

     
  23. FieldingMellish thread starter Suspended

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    A response to the contrary would be that of the Devil's advocate, which for some serves as the soothing ointment in the face of Professor Bland's conspicuously "creative" interpretation of events.
     
  24. determined09 macrumors 65816

    determined09

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    #24
    I'm sorry that this happened to you. It's unfortunate that a lot of people don't recognize their our neighbors. I'm glad that that situation where the house alarm malfunctioned, the cop was used his common sense and understood what was going on.
     
  25. pdqgp macrumors 68020

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    Meh I wouldn't say she's being an opportunist, but she's carrying a chip more so than most. If she lives in the area and pays all those taxes then she should appreciate the effort these officers put forth. We have township, suburban and city police all patrolling our area and I appreciate it.

    Local ordinances likely have rule about her walking on the wrong side of the street and it is a danger. Especially when so many people today walk with music / earbuds keeping them from hearing traffic. The police advised her of the truck incident, then thier own rolling up without her noticing.

    In terms of asking for ID, that's option. She willingly gave that up. Not a big deal really as they are likely going use it for the record/call report. Once provided, it's not out of the ordinary for her to been verified in the system. No different than an officer running the plate of someone who may be driving okay but changed lanes unknowingly without signaling. Both guilty of minor infractions being checked out. It's a safety thing as well so that they know exactly who they are dealing with. Again, she provided the information. If it was such a concern then perhaps she should have said no in the beginning.

    Overall, a vary cordial stop and one that was indeed informative and helped give her good advice on how to be safe.
     

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