Have you ever been driving along, minding your business and supposedly following the law when an officer decides to pull you over? At some point in many of our lives, we will get pulled over for a suspected traffic offense. While such an incident is not uncommon, that does not mean that a person should get pulled over unreasonably or neglect speaking out against needless police pestering.
One 28-year-old Baltimore man hasn’t hesitated to speak out against what he thinks was unwarranted police harassment. He was ticketed for a minor traffic violation on Tuesday but claims that he wouldn’t have even been pulled over if he weren’t black.
Racial profiling has been an issue of controversy in Maryland and throughout the country for some time. It’s led to much more serious and violent outcomes than this Baltimore traffic stop. The supposed victim of that discriminatory action had the courage and wisdom to speak up. But he worries that others who might be targets of racial profiling won’t be as likely to defend their rights and speak up when they are mistreated.
The authorities in this Baltimore incident, however, claim that they had reason to pull the man over. The van reportedly had a broken tail light and was driving “suspiciously” slow. They were reportedly on high alert where the van was because of recent incidents of theft in the Ridgley’s Delight area.
If someone is pulled over and ticketed for a traffic offense, whether authorities had sufficient reason to initiate the traffic stop is of great significance. Even if an officer discovers something after pulling a suspect over that can lead to a citation or criminal charge, if he had no reason to pull that suspect over, any charge could be challenged in court.
The Baltimore Sun: “Pulled over while working with TV crew, man alleges racial profiling,” Peter Hermann, Nov. 9, 2011
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044