Walking while… Standing While… Driving while…Black seems to be alive and well. The following incident happened “outside of Atlanta” which actually is no surprise since I live in the suburbs of Atlanta and have witnessed more than enough cases of profiling.
Last week, former NFL star Warrick Dunn was pulled over outside Atlanta, Georgia by three police officers. Dunn has been involved in a number of charitable organizations since leaving the NFL, including founding the Warrick Dunn Family Foundation to help single parents find homes for their families. The former Atlanta Falcons running back has also received numerous accolades for his off-the-field service, including the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the Bart Starr Award, and former President Clinton’s Giant Steps Award. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described Dunn as a “model citizen.”
So it was to Dunn’s surprise when he was stopped by police officers for having “the characteristic of people transporting drugs and guns” last Friday. Dunn, who is a 36 year-old black man, was also stopped for having tinted windows that were allegedly “too dark.” Dunn reported the incident on his Facebook account late last week:
Pulled over outside Atl because he said my window tint was too dark. During the stop he asked a lot of personal questions, said I had the characteristics of people transporting drugs & guns. So he searched my car and gave me a warning for my tint. Felt violated and I’ve had my car since ’08, nvr been pulled ovr for tint. Taken back bc I think the reasoning was bad. Ruined my day but not my spirit.
Despite the alleged rationale of illegally tinted windows, Dunn wrote that “my tint is not dark.” In addition, “it was cloudy and [the police were] 20 yards behind at an angle.”
Dunn was not charged in the stop, but did ultimately receive a warning from the officers.
The former NFL player’s ordeal is one that is already felt by many across the nation. Yet if conservatives had their way, profiling incidents like Dunn’s would not just become more commonplace, but would be legally justified as well. Indeed, racial and ethnic profiling is widely supported by Republicans. Last year, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called profiling “common sense” and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) justified it on the grounds that “all terrorists are Muslims or Middle Easterners.”
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