October 31, 2007

Sowell on Driving While Black: Lose The Persectuion Complex
— Ace

Pretty much true.

For what it's worth, I got pulled over speeding in Connecticut from Boston to NY a couple of nights before Thanksgiving. The roads were pretty dense with traffic and, per my custom, I was speeding, but speeding less than most people in the left lane.

The cop was black. I got a ticket, despite many cars flying by 10 or 15 or 20 miles an hour faster than me.

Yes, I did immediately decide he gave me the ticket because I was white. Despite the fact that there was a better reason: I had out-of-state plates.

Furthermore, whether or not I was one of the stealth speeders, I was, in fact, doing almost 80 on 65 road.

It's a pretty common response for everyone to spring to the defense of bias and selective enforcement when they get pulled over by a cop, or ticketed for, say, having an open container while walking down the street. Sometimes there may be bias involved. Most often, I'm thinking, there's not, and it would behoove us to keep in mind that whether there are worse offenders out there or not, we wouldn't have gotten hasselled if we weren't in fact breaking the law.

And yeah, as Sowell notes: Attitude has a lot to do with whether you get a ticket or a warning. Or just a semi-friendly reminder. You don't have to kiss a cop's ass, but dealing with the situation in calm way makes the cop's night easier, and in turn, hell, he might make your night easier too.

Posted by: Ace at 10:36 AM | Comments (36)
Post contains 277 words, total size 2 kb.

1 They Love when you tell them you pay their salary too.

Posted by: Guy with a million tickets at October 31, 2007 10:43 AM (x0jT7)


Don't yell "I have a gun, sucka!"


I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at October 31, 2007 10:45 AM (Gnn85)

3 And some cops are just jerks, in a bad mood etc. 

Posted by: holdfast at October 31, 2007 10:46 AM (Gzb30)


Years ago, a friend of mine driving a nasty old beater blew a stop sign, with a cop sitting right at the cross road.  Right after he cleared the intersection, he jammed on his emergency brake, turned the car to the curb, killed the engine, popped his hood and jumped out, waving and cursing at the car. 

The cop rolled up, got out, and surveyed the scene, as my friend hollered "Holy shit, officer, my brakes went!" I just stood at the curb, mouth shut. The cop told him to take care of it right away, and drove off. Apparently, the cop didn't notice the smell of beer on my friend's breath over the smell of the burnt emergency brake and engine smoke.

I doubt that you could use it on the Interstate but, it may be better than a $200 ticket and three points, if it does.

Posted by: electron john at October 31, 2007 10:46 AM (ZvbcI)


Dude, he KNEW you were hatin' on Ned last election.  Don't kid yourself.  The only thing you were guilty of was driving while wingnutting.

Posted by: Dogstar at October 31, 2007 10:49 AM (FgxdU)

6 Last night I was called a "fucking racist" by a middle-aged black woman in my study group in college.  I am not looking forward to our group presentation.

Posted by: tachyonshuggy at October 31, 2007 10:51 AM (Lz6uE)

7 Don't taze me bro

Posted by: Can't give up old memes at October 31, 2007 10:54 AM (evdj2)

8 That's what you get for taking Fight The Power 101.

Posted by: Dogstar at October 31, 2007 10:54 AM (FgxdU)


Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams: the antidote to a great deal of stupidity.

Take two with breakfast , daily.

Posted by: captkidney at October 31, 2007 10:57 AM (Y6+8p)

10 Here's my advice from my days working as a prosecutor and dealing with a fair number of police.

1.  State troopers generally LOVE traffic enforcement in ways that the average road patrol officer does not, so troopers are less likely to cut you breaks.  Some will, but most won't, and some troopers would ticket their own mother.

2.  If you see an officer and you know you are speeding, then DO NOT slam on the brakes or otherwise stupidly react.  Officers are more likely to go after you if you react in such an obvious fashion, or pay them excessive amounts of attention (or otherwise freak out when you spot them).

3.  If you are speeding AND have an obvious equipment problem, are not using a seatbelt, or are driving in some stupid fashion other than just speeding, then you're more likely to get stopped.

4.  If you drive 10 mph or less over the speed limit, you will rarely get stopped in the absence of some other issue (unless you run into a ticket-his-own-mother sort of officer).

5.  Be aware of those Click It or Ticket sort of campaigns, where your federal tax dollars get handed back to the states to fund extra overtime for police for traffic enforcement purposes.  When these programs are going on, they are much more motivated to write tickets than normal, so your chances of getting pulled over are correspondingly higher, regardless of other factors.

Posted by: Harry Callahan at October 31, 2007 10:58 AM (Xroyb)




You have my sympathy.  That's one of the many reasons I despised group projects.



Posted by: goddessoftheclassroom at October 31, 2007 11:00 AM (A6Lwt)

12 Cops don't hate specific groups of people, they are just generally ornery towards everyone who isn't a cop.  Black cops don't hate white folks, and white cops don't hate black folks.  They (the cops) have to deal with shit from all manner of human  scum, and one skin color or the other doesn't have a monopoly on breaking the cops' balls.  Cops understand that they are making your life worse at that particular moment with a ticket, but they expect a certain level of respect.  If that respect is missing, or if you are downright rude, you will get no mercy. 

Posted by: Ken at October 31, 2007 11:01 AM (+9C3X)

13 I got pulled over in California once.

It was two o'clock in the morning, and one other car and I were (ahem!) proceeding up US101 between San Jose and San Francisco at (mumble mumble)MPH. The CHP pulled up and red-lighted us one at a time.

The other car kept going, with the officer in pursuit. I pulled over, took the next offramp, and parked on the onramp under a street lamp. I got out my latest paperback book and settled in to wait.

Half an hour or so later, the CHP car appeared in my rear-view mirror. He zipped up, braked hard, and pulled in behind me, and both officers (it was 0230) got out. One came to my window and asked what I was doing there.

"You red-lighted me," I told him. "I'd have kept going, but I'm pretty sure this thing isn't faster than radio."

He looked at me for a moment. "You be careful, now," he said, and went away shaking his head.

Unexpected behavior can sometimes yield dividends.


Posted by: Ric Locke at October 31, 2007 11:06 AM (DTj4I)

14 I suspect that many police departments have been given a target of money to be collected from people in thr form of traffic tickets. If that is the case, I wonder why it is not illegal to do so. It would not be permitted to tell the police to bring in atleast 10 rapists per day, would it? Why are traffic offenses treated differently?

Posted by: Tushar D at October 31, 2007 11:11 AM (IlgNp)

15 Consider the sexual bias: if the cop is male, tears work for female speeders, mostly.

OTOH, my nephew and his buddy got a big break a few years back when they reeked of beer and were out past the curfew for an under 21 y/o driver. The cop had the dispatcher call me to come get them and waited at the scene to make sure they stayed put. He told me he didn't want to ruin the nephew's record when he could see he'd be applying to colleges soon but wanted him in enough trouble to scare him. It seemed to work as said nephew is now running a restaurant and working too much to have time to bar hop.


Posted by: Retread at October 31, 2007 11:11 AM (P/AfD)

16 "tears work for female speeders, mostly."

As does cleavage.

Posted by: Ken at October 31, 2007 11:13 AM (+9C3X)


>>"tears work for female speeders, mostly."

>>As does cleavage.

Unless the cop is teh ghey.

Posted by: Tushar D at October 31, 2007 11:14 AM (IlgNp)


I drive a 1969 Olds Delta 88 with a 455 and a Rochester 4 barrel...I have been stopped for speeding (the worst 103 on the freeway 930am Sunday) 4 times in the last 5 months and never gotten ONE ticket. What do I do? First thing, just be cool and own it. Since my car is totally mint (less than 55,000 on her...) I usually make some slight crack about how, what with the 455 and the 4 barrel and all, sometimes speed gets away from me. Most cops have something of a car-dork proclivity so they seem to dig on that. (I have had to pop the hood on more than 1 occasion) Second, I always "accidentally" make sure I hand them my NRA membership card with the license/insurance/registration. Oops! If the cop ain't a car nerd he will be a gun guy, so we can bond on that. Keep in mind a am a 45 year old punkrock looking asshole who doesn't comb his hair, doesn't wear a suit and looks rather hobo-esque. Once they get thru my car-guy BS, my gun-guy BS and my clear record (not a criminal, just look like one) they have figured out that while I may look odd and be a leadfoot, I am one of the "good guys" and off I go.

Cops are just doing their jobs and don't wanna be hassled, just like anyone else. Be cool with them and you are good 99.9 times outta 100

Posted by: v at October 31, 2007 11:17 AM (Jhm82)


I used to have long hair, and looked generally like a dirtbag (rock and roll!), as a result, I was pulled over regularly, car searched, treated like a criminal etc. My own fault.

Bottom line, they profile, and they should. Look like a thug, get treated like one.

Posted by: bmac at October 31, 2007 11:17 AM (spnY1)

20 When I was a senior in high school I got pulled over by a black cop about 4:00 am, called boy and treated in a generally rude manner. May have had something to do with the fact I had his 16 year old niece in the car with me.

Apparently someone was lying when she said she could stay out as late as she wanted. Pulled her right of my car and told me to go home.

Posted by: steve_in_hb at October 31, 2007 11:34 AM (7FHPf)


V, I had something simular happen to me a number of years ago on 5, southbound to San Diego. I was driving a borrowed Citroen CX, and a then-new Jag pulles up alongside me, making the "motion". It wasn't anything serious, just some fast-lane fun- he pulls past me, I pass him. We're both grinning like retards at each other. Finally, I pull past him one last time. I also blew past the Chippie I didn't see. I get lit up, and pull over fearing the worst. First statement from the officer: "If you hadn't passed the Jag, he's the one who would've gotten pulled over." Second statement from the officer: "What is this car? I've never seen one before." 20 minutes of show-n'-tell doesn't save me from a ticket, but it did get it dramatically reduced. Being a hardcore car geek does have some advantages.

I agree- they're just doing what they're paid to do.

Posted by: Bill H at October 31, 2007 11:39 AM (wnYi7)

22 Driving back to Texas from a Colorado ski trip, I got two speeding tickets. One at 10:52 am and the next one at 10:58am.  You would think State Troopers would spread out their territory a little bit more.  

Posted by: polynikes at October 31, 2007 11:42 AM (m2CN7)

23 "tears work for female speeders, mostly."

Don't bet on that...

"Cops don't hate specific groups of people, they are just generally
ornery towards everyone who isn't a cop.  Black cops don't hate white
folks, and white cops don't hate black folks.  They (the cops) have to
deal with shit from all manner of human  scum, and one skin color or
the other doesn't have a monopoly on breaking the cops' balls.  Cops
understand that they are making your life worse at that particular
moment with a ticket, but they expect a certain level of respect.  If
that respect is missing, or if you are downright rude, you will get no


No cop that I know of uses "Racial Profiling", but every cop I know uses criminal profiling.  If you're a black person, that lives in a black neighborhood, who do you think the police are going to pull over?  You guessed it!  A black person!

If you look/act like a thug or a hoodlum, the police are going to pay you close attention and they're going to see if you're a criminal or just someone with bad choice in clothing or personal hygiene.  Cops usually have a pretty good ability to figure out who the bad guys and good guys are.

I've given people many more breaks than I've ever given tickets.  It all comes down to (your) attitude when dealing with the police.  If you give me lip or attitude, you're opening yourself up for a lot of extra hassle that you wouldn't otherwise get.  We don't play to lose.  Remember that.

Being cool to the cop that pulls you over may or may not get you out of a ticket, but being a dick (or having an attitude) will DEFINITELY get you a ticket.  Your choice...

Posted by: thebronze at October 31, 2007 12:04 PM (LfEK6)

24 My best encounter with a cop was when my old Minivan transmission dies on Route 1. There was a 2 mile pileup behind me in 2 minutes. I called 911 and asked them for help. I told them that I called Triple-A and they will be here in 2 hours sharp. The dispatcher sent over an officer in a large Dodge Durango. He put his front bumper to my van's back bumper and gave my car a push. He dumped me by the side of the road. The traffic was flowing smoothly again. I donated the van the next day. Good times.

Posted by: Tushar D at October 31, 2007 12:33 PM (IlgNp)

25 I was doing 80 in a 55 about 2AM  and got pulled over. I was very sorry and respectful. I was also driving a delivery van, so they let me go with a warning.
"Yes sir" "No Sir" "I'm Sorry" goes a long way.

Also when I am travelling I try to not be the fastest thing on the road and to be driving with the traffic. I've only gotten 1 speeding ticket in 40 years of driving.

Posted by: billhedrick at October 31, 2007 12:41 PM (OWcCI)

26 I got pulled over Monday night.  I had a headlight out.  When I handed the officer my ID I handed him my CCW and let him know verbally as well.  He got tense, and put his hand on his weapon for the rest of the conversation, but I got a warning and no hassle.  I was driving in a rich neighborhood in a nice car and other than having dark hair I'm white.  I really think he only pulled me over because of the headlight.  Of course, that's easy to say because, again, I'm white.  If I'd been taught to hate the "po-po" my whole life, well, I'm just glad I was raised by people smarter than that.  

Posted by: bonhomme at October 31, 2007 12:54 PM (jvG2F)

27 If you have time. Go to court on the speeding ticket. While everyone else is claiming racism or police misconduct. Tell the judge and any police in the courtroom that you were guilty of speeding but just wanted to see if you could get your fine reduced. Works like a charm. It doesn't make the cop or the court look bad and may save you some bucks. Any cops on this thread that think differently, please chime in.

Posted by: Aubrey at October 31, 2007 01:14 PM (WAB0n)

28 We've been through this before, haven't we. (rhetorical question)

Despite a few inane remarks by the usual suspects, the majority of Morons seem to have it right.

Hey folks - cops are human too - believe it or not. We have families we want to go home to, and car stops are one of THE most dangerous things we do. So forgive us if we seem unduly suspicious or jumpy at times. Most of us have done it thousands of times under a variety of conditions, and it doesn't get less dangerous the more you do.

thebronze says it - be a man and own up to the offense (you KNOW you fucked up - be a man about it), do the right thing in your car, i.e., lights on at night, no sudden moves, no reaching under seat or glovebox, hands in sight, etc. while the officer approaches. Fast moves can get you killed - take that to the bank.

I can't speak for all, but I wrote maybe - MAYBE - 60% of the cars I stopped. That gives you pretty good odds, considering if i didn't have you dead I wouldn't have bothered to stop you in the first place. Why? Respect.

We don't expect people to love us or kiss our asses. If we did we'd have gone on the fire department. We do a job not many people have the balls to do for a lot less pay than you think. All we ask is respect. If you argue with me you are going to get at LEAST one tag. Keep arguing and I keep writing. There are LOTS of offenses you don't even know about in the traffic laws, and you can bet I know every damned one of them. And if you keep acting like an asshole, remember this ... a summons is issued IN LIEU OF arrest. Anything I can write a summons for I can arrest you for. So toss that ticket out your window, and you will be my guest in the Gray Bar Hotel for the night.

For most cops - writing summonses is part of the job we can do without. I too would rather be catching the guy who broke into your car last week. Unfortunately, I was probably pulling some guys crumpled body out of a car at the time because he blew a light and creamed some other poor bastard that could have been your family. Or maybe I was stopping a guy who thinks doing 100mph on a public roadway posted at 50 is great fun.

Be a gentleman, admit you were wrong, hand over all the proper documents in a civil manner and you stand a good chance of getting a warning. Act like an asshole and all bets are off.

And no - girls crying don't get any extra consideration, and we don't have quotas.

Posted by: Bruce at October 31, 2007 01:18 PM (2q+Ss)

29 I got nabbed doing 120mph once. This guy, who I thought was an insurance-type dork and I used to "take turns" leading each other everyday on my way to work. We did 70-80mph for a week. He lead if I was really still in the bag. One day while I was still drunk from the night before, I decided that I wasn't gonna be his  "hare" because I had the latest and greatest  radar detector. Screw him, let him get a ticket, I'm not letting him draft me and get off when I get busted. This was in '94 and I had my wifes new Celica GT 2.2 litre that I put a 3" exhaust, bigger injectors and the largest bolt in Cams I could get without piston  to valve interference. So I said fuck it, and dropped  down to 3rd at 70mph. Smoked him big time, and I could see him trying. Tha last curve on the interstate I could see him using the whole road, both lanes like Nascar,  to catch up. At the bottom of my exit was huge "party" waiting for me. The "insurance adjuster" guy came up to me and the 5 troopers, and man was he pissed. He was totally spitting nails as he explained that he was the new Commander at the HQ 2 exits past mine. He explained that he was gonna have me written for 120mph because that's all his speedo went up to!!!!. I was fucked, but it was still yes sir, no sir, even though I knew I was gonna hang. I would have lost the  CDL that I had, and my job entirely. I asked for a court date and went to see him in my Utility Company Truck. I told him I knew I did wrong, and he was the REAL man to ask mercy from. I also told him that he would have a freind for life, both as a civilian and in my professional capacity. He let me slide enough to keep my job and a CDL. Yes I owned up, showed respect and went with hat in hand, to beg. It worked, and I learned somemething. He was hot at the time, yet was impressed at how humble I was later. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: hutch1200 at October 31, 2007 02:21 PM (M13rF)

30 Yeah, there is real racism with cops and maltreatment of minorities, but you know, cabs decline to pick up white people too. Every time someone gives you a dirty look doesn't mean they're a bigot. Maybe they just have had a horrible day or were thinking of something awful and you happened to be in eye line.

There's a tendency among some deaf folks to become a bit paranoid over time because they see people looking at them and laughing or talking. Are they talking about me? They're laughing at me. What are they saying? They know I can't hear!

Really, most of the time people don't even know you exist. Its a colossus of ego to think that people even are thinking about you most of the time. Just because someone treats you rotten doesn't mean they're bigots. Maybe they treat everyone that way. Maybe they had a bad day. Maybe you looked at him in a way he took offense at.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at October 31, 2007 03:26 PM (hfyfI)

31 Think of the last 3 times you went off  on a bad retail clerk. Now picture them armed, and having the capability of ruining your life. Changes your thoughts on being a jackass at the 7-11 don't it.

Posted by: hutch1200 at October 31, 2007 04:34 PM (M13rF)


I've had mostly good experiences with cops. I've been caught speeding by 10-15 over a couple of times and have gotten off with warnings. I'm always polite. These guys have a hard enough job as it is and the pay isn't that great.

I just moved to Charleston, SC and I got pulled over for doing 10 over on the Hwy 17 bridge. I was, as usual, very polite, but the officer was acting like a total jerk. Barney Fife power-trip type. He happened to be black, but I don't think that had anything to do with it. He did calm down a little by the end of the stop, but not much. I ended up with about a $75 ticket.

Posted by: The Band at October 31, 2007 07:45 PM (nHRdf)

33 The only real pains around here, as far as cops are concerned, are the Mason/Warren County PD (the town/county to the north).  They'll write you a $50 ticket for 1mph over the speed limit, clocked with a gun that hasn't been calibrated in over 6 months.  The old judges would then suspend your license and send you to remedial lessons.

The cops aren't as bad as they were 7-10 years ago (the time of the 1mph incident with my friend from high school), and neither are the judges.  I think the rapid growth spurt the area has been going through in the meantime has brought enough people with money in that they can't afford to go "fined because your plates say Butler instead of Warren Co" anymore.

Posted by: Ranba at October 31, 2007 09:46 PM (h2MEX)

34 the primary reason folks get pulled over, and perhaps ticketed, is that they were not paying sufficiant attention. The again, most folks are living a nanosecond in the past,  reacting to the situation they find themselves in rather than anticipating the situation they are approaching. 

Posted by: bains at November 01, 2007 02:33 AM (F/dCx)


I don't know about this.

Back in the early 90s I sold used cars on a Honda lot and had a demo, the dealership couldn't be open on Sunday (yay).

So I (a white guy) leave on a Saturday night and forget my dealer tag. I didn't notice it until Monday when I saw my tag in my desk.

I had driven around Fairfax city on a Saturday night and didn't get pulled over. Saturday night, Fairfax, new Honda, no tag.

Most of the other guys in used cars at the time were black, they got pulled over in their demos all the time. I mean, all the time.

So I believe in driving while black. I don't say its racism, but it's definitely real.

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