Dashcam video was recently released of the Feb 6 arrest of African-American Studies Princeton professor Imani Perry. Police say they arrested Perry because she was speeding and she was driving on a suspended license due to one unpaid parking ticket of $130.
Shortly after her arrest, Perry took to social media to describe her fear of being arrested and her strong belief that race played a factor in her arrest and treatment while in custody. Mentioning the trend of unjust treatment of Black people by the police and the 2015 death of Sandra Bland, she wrote “[there] is a serious problem with the policing in our society” and that “the police treated me inappropriately and disproportionately. The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter.”
While the police won’t release video of what happened inside the police station, they did release the dashcam video to the press, saying that they did not do anything wrong, Planet Princeton notes.
The video shows the following:
- Two officers, one male and one female pulling Perry over in what looks like a “routine” traffic stop.
- The police officers run her license, to find out that is was suspended.
- She was then quickly handcuffed and arrested.
- A slightly heated exchange when Perry was told she had to be handcuffed, but Perry was still cooperative.
- Police asking Perry if she was OK, asking her was she “hyperventilating.”
And while many on social media have attacked Perry calling her a “race baiter” it’s important to point out that Perry never accused the cops of racial misconduct per se nor is she downplaying her own speeding, BET News notes.
She was merely questioning the motives behind her arrest and some of the shoddy treatment she received such as having a male officer perform a body search on her when they’re clearly a female police officer at the scene, being handcuffed to a table at the precinct for a non-violent offense and not being allowed to call or text her colleagues to tell them what happened. Not to mention, statistics show that in Princeton Township, a Black person is twice as likely to be pulled over by a white person.
Just some food for thought. Did a suspended license really warrant an arrest like this?
Sadly, since Perry has gotten “hundreds upon hundreds of threats and slurs online, by email and via telephone” since sharing her story on social media.
“I find myself saddened because I believe I offered a measured account of my experiences, not to the media but simply on my own social media accounts, and the snowball effect of that is that I have been attacked with incredible ugliness,” she said.