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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Video Shows Case of Alleged Racial Profiling

The People's Vanguard of Davis has acquired this footage taken in January of 2006. It shows an area couple who witnessed a police officer pulling over an African-American UC Davis student. They then talk to the student who is unhappy at being pulled over.

As with most cases of alleged racial profiling, the evidence is unclear. We do not have access to the interaction between the police officer and the student. And even if we did, we would see the police officer ask a couple of questions, check the car's paperwork and let the student go. There was no citation given. The charge of racial profiling is difficult to sustain and often explained either by citing a minor vehicle violation or the claim that the person fit the profile of someone sought by the police for the commission of another crime.

The reason that he was allegedly pulled over was failure to signal, however, the student claims that that was untrue and the officer never cites him for it or even gives him a warning. This is a similar story that is told over and over again amongst minority students in this community. A student is pulled over, asked what they are doing, asked where they are from, the license and registration are processed, and then more often than not the person is let go without a citation or even a warning.

I like this clip because the student is clearly well-spoken and someone that most in the community can relate to. He is on his way to a job interview, well-dressed, and driving a nice rental car.

The sad part about this interaction is that these types of interactions between minorities in Davis and the police happen frequently, there is little that can be documented about them and in the end, the only thing this clip can do is raise community awareness about the problem.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting