If there’s one thing Black people know, it’s that the police will mess with you for any reason under the sun. Seeing a cop car is enough to send Black folks who watch redundant examples of harassment by police into cardiac arrest. This is especially the on the road. Officers will bring up unknown traffic violations foreign to the driver’s manual. In Ohio, a young Black man named John Felton found out just how little someone of his demographic has to do to be pulled over. Mere eye contact got him hassled.
Of course, the officer had an excuse. He claimed he pulled Felton over for failing to signal within 100 feet of turning (one of those new traffic violations). Felton didn’t buy the officer’s line, and continued to question him with his camera phone rolling. The officer went to admit that he pulled Felton over for making “direct eye-contact” with him.
David Pakman, blogger for the Huffington Post, wrote:
“As suspicious as ‘making direct eye contact’ may be to a police officer, doing the exact opposite—that is, avoiding eye contact with a police officer—could be considered equally suspicious by an officer. In other words, both making eye contact and not making eye contact with police could, conceivably, be grounds for a traffic stop.”
View video from the traffic stop below. Be sure to watch yourselves out in the street. Don’t cower, but keep your body free and alive. There’s no telling what it will take to ease tensions between police and the community, if this is what they’re on, though.