DWB: Driving While Black, is a common crime in the United States for many African Americans. It is not uncommon for African Americans to be stopped by the police for no reason and given a ticket. I know what you’re thinking, the cops would never do that, right? Wrong! Happens to my people daily. What’s even more disappointing, is that there is no recourse. Police Officers are ALWAYS right (you learn this when you get to court). Ask anyone who has been to traffic court without an attorney. If you play the game (don’t pay your rent so that you can afford an attorney), and go along with the racket, your chances of vindication are better. Go it alone, and they nail you to the cross.
Today, as my husband trailed behind me on his motorcycle through a residential area, and a police officer followed us the entire two miles. Initially, the speed limit was 35mph, then 25mph, 15mph, and then finally 10mph. I was very careful not to exceed the speed limit, as I knew that the officer was simply ‘looking for a reason’ to stop us. With my leading us, would have proof that the officer stopped us for no reason.
Upon making our final turn onto the 10mph stretch, the officer turned on his lights and pulled my husband over. He had no reason for doing this. My husband and I both pulled to the side. I got out of the car and immediately started taking photos. The officer seemed alarmed by this and asked my husband, “Is that your wife? Why is she taking pictures?” He then asked my husband for his license and registration and went back to his car. Within seconds, he returned from his car and told my husband that although his registration showed that his motorcycle is registered through 2010, DMV records had information stating the contrary and that his registration had expired December 2008. He told my husband that he should contact DMV immediately to clarify “their error.” Well, this is exactly what we did. We immediately went to DMV and they could not validate the information that the officer ‘alleged’ to have received from them. Their records concluded that my husband’s bike is registered through 2010. The officer lied to save his own ass, and my D90 saved the day!
I think back to something a fellow photographer wrote not so long ago, “I don’t see color.” My response is still, “You’ve never had to.”