Dorothy Bland, journalism dean at the University of North Texas, says she was stopped by police for “walking while black” in her affluent neighborhood on Oct. 24.
In an op-ed piece for The Dallas Morning News, Bland alleges that she was out for her daily walk in a gray “Boston” hoodie when two white police officers pulled up next to her and flashed their lights and sirens.
After a short exchange, one of the officers reportedly asked where Bland lived and requested identification. She said her address and date of birth were recorded.
Bland said she took a picture of the officers and of the license plate of the police cruiser for documentation.
Bland later dropped by the mayor’s house and made him aware of the situation, asking, “Do I look like a criminal?”
She added that after her ordeal, she was given a half-dozen roses in a random act of kindness from an elderly white neighbor.
Bland closes the piece by writing: “The more often we talk and get to know people as humans, the stronger we will become as a nation. We are all part of the human race.”
Corinth Chief of Police Debra Walthall responded to Bland’s op-ed with her side of the story.
Walthall says the two officers who stopped Bland were a field training officer and his recruit. They allegedly stopped Bland after a pickup truck had to slam on its brakes to avoid hitting her. Bland was reportedly none the wiser, with her hood on and ear buds in.
Before the officers pulled over to speak with Bland, they turned on their dash-cam, which caught the interaction on video.
The officers then turned on their emergency lights, with no siren, and approached Bland. They recommended that she walk against traffic and told her about the truck that almost hit her.
“Impeding traffic is a Class C misdemeanor, and it is our policy to ask for identification from people we encounter for this type violation,” Walthall writes.
She said the interaction was “cordial and brief” and that the same two officers had seen her walking earlier but did not stop because she was not in the street impeding traffic.
Walthall says the video, which includes audio, supports her claim that “the officers’ intent was simply to keep her safe.”
She concludes her response by writing, “The citizens of Corinth as a whole are a highly educated population, and it is disappointing that one of our residents would attempt to make this a racial issue when clearly it is not.”
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”