Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jonathan Blanks - Libertarians' Racial Blindspot

ore-ersula-close-up-vidstill.jpg
Screen-grab of dash-cam video of ASU assistant professor Ersula Ore's May 20 arrest.

My friends and former colleagues over at reason rightly note that a cop appears to have been way too aggressive when stopping a college professor for jaywalking:
A police encounter in Tempe, Arizona, over the weekend turned ugly after a campus police officer wrestled Arizona State University professor Ersula Ore to the ground. Video footage shows the officer attempting to pull Ore's hands behind her back and pin her against the dashboard before slamming her onto the ground in the middle of the street. 
 Ore's crime, evidently, was jaywalking in the middle of the night. 

Now, I'd seen people share this story on social media without clicking through, but it was something I wanted to check out. Without seeing her name--or even her gender--but hearing about the incident, I assumed that the professor was likely black and the officer was likely white. Why? Because black people's history with law enforcement has long been fraught with conflict and the years of police officers treating black people more harshly than they treat your average white person is no secret. Police abuse is by no means exclusive to black people, but it is and has been prevalent since law enforcement and black people have coexisted in this country. And jaywalking is one of those laws that is, for the most part, used as a pretextual stop (as opposed to, say, a priority of law enforcement) because the officer thinks the person is otherwise up to no good.

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