By Teka Lark
It was a good day in South Central Los Angeles and I was on my way to get coffee and then I got stopped by a Black cop in Hawthorne.
He was a LA Sheriff and it was 3:00 p.m. on a Monday.
“I’m not even drunk, it’s 3:00 p.m. who stops people in the afternoon?” I thought.
Take a guess what I was stopped for.
No, I never get stopped for that. That gives me superpowers that make me invisible to cops, small children and monsters.
I was stopped for wearing my seatbelt “wrong.”
We all know that being Black is against the law, apparently having breasts is also against the law.
If you are a woman and you have breasts it is uncomfortable to wear your seatbelt like a guy, so I, like many other women put the seatbelt under my breasts.
Apparently this is against some kind of law.
I ask, “Can you let me off with a warning?”
“No,” he responds.
I knew he’d say no, because police departments hire Black cops to say no to Black people, because they will be hardcore with Black people.
Hardcore even with middle aged women in late model cars. I know that is a somewhat privileged asshole statement that implies younger people with older cars should be stopped, but why the fuck was this Black man stopping me?
Since I wasn’t going to get off, I decided to waste his time by playing 20 questions.
I ask, “That is really a law, what law is it?”
“Yes, it is really a law ma’am…” (rattles off some numbers I can’t remember) says cop.
“How did you see my seatbelt was on ‘wrong,’ where were you?” I ask.
“I don’t have to answer that ma’am,” says cop.
“I think you do. I am going to Google entrapment when I get home. How many people get stopped for this?” I ask.
“Lots,” says the cop.
“I think you aren’t telling the truth. I think you are lying,” I say, then I continue, “This is ridiculous. You are a racist cop and you are stopping me, because I am Black,” I explain.
“I am Black,” he says.
“What a great cover for a racist cop,” I respond.
I knew I was treading on dangerous water, but I was on Imperial Highway by a very popular coffee establishment, so I thought there would be plenty of witnesses if he tried to violate my rights, some more.
And he was violating my rights. He had no reason to stop me. He didn’t see my seatbelt was on ‘wrong’. His stop was a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights.
The Supreme Court states ~”Automobiles may be stopped if an officer possesses a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the motorist has violated a traffic law.”
“Are you done ma’am?” asks cop.
And I say, “No, I need you name and badge number and a card, because you are ridiculous for stopping me for this.”
He gives me his information and a card.
“We are supposed to be helping each other, you know that right?” I tell him as I sign the ticket.
“I am supposed to be upholding the law,” he says as he hands me the ticket.
When I get home I tell my friend of this incident and at the end I say “Can you believe I got stopped for that BS?”
And she says, “But it is against the law. You have to follow the law.”
I just stared at her.
She was Black too.
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Solidarity with you!