Most people think they know the drill for a speeding ticket.
You get pulled over, asked for information then get a ticket or a warning then it's over.
But for some segments of the population, that's only what they wish traffic stops were like. With stories like Philando Castile and Sandra Bland in mind, a routine stop can be a potential death sentence even when you "just comply."
People are citing excessive force in a recent alleged speeding stop in Mississippi.
Two videos showing the interaction between Tupelo, Mississippi residents Robert Morton, his pregnant fiance Porsha Shields, who took the video, and two Mississippi officers were posted to Facebook on July 15 by Laquisha Cummings and gained over 2 million views. The video was also shared on Twitter and other platforms and quickly racked up views there too.
The location was originally misidentified as Texas in some posts. It actually takes place in Mississippi. The couple's four year-old son was also in the car during the events of the videos.
Watch it here.
When you start out being treated differently, compliance with appears to be a biased person becomes difficult. Discrimination is defined as disparate treatment.
Statistically, minorities are often treated as threats and met with violence automatically while White people who actually are threats, like mass shooters, are often reasoned with. Crime statistics show people of color received harsher treatment for the same infractions.
Unarmed people of color who have committed no crimes are killed by law enforcement at a disproportionately higher level than White criminal offenders.
Of course, a chorus of "if he just complied" was received from some in reaction to the video.
Part of bias and privilege is the belief your experience is the same as everyone else's.
Empathy is doing your research and seeing that others are treated differently at alarming levels.
Police shot behavioral therapist Charles Kinseybehavioral therapist Charles Kinsey—even after the therapist laid down on the ground with his hands in the air and tried to explain to officers that he and the man he was caring for were unarmed. Kinsey, an unarmed person of color who committed no crime, "just complied" and was shot by law enforcement.
Video showed Philando Castile just complying when he was fatally shot by police. The "just comply" chorus needs to understand their relationship with law enforcement is not the same as everyone else's.
But some people do get it.
Most people felt law enforcement acted inappropriately.
Morton was charged with speeding, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, seat belt violation, failure to provide identification and a $35 fee for breaking the cop's whistle. His fiancee Shields was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The couple was released the same day they were arrested.
Statistically, people of color are less likely to receive a warning, more likely to be falsely accused and detained and more likely to be charged with a crime related to their interactions with law enforcement, like disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, when no other crime was committed.
People of color are also more likely to die during interactions with law enforcement.
There is a well documented problem and "just comply" is not the solution.
The book Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race, available here, takes a comprehensive look at the disparity based on police records.