Paul Quinn College President Says Dallas Police Targeted Him for Driving While Black
On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after hearing journalist Laura Ling address the Dallas chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women in Far North Dallas, Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell was pulled over by Dallas police.
Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell, left, at a 2011 protest against an ordinance that would direct more garbage to the McCommas Bluff Landfill.
We know this because he Tweeted about it:
Just got stopped by a Dallas Police Officer who is not familiar w/ our side of town. Ticketing me for a registration violation. #DWB— Michael Sorrell (@michaelsorrell) February 26, 2013
The #DWB hashtag is Twitter speak for "driving while black." Sorrell further describes the incident:
Here's the thing -- he read it while we both were traveling 60mph and he was in the other lane to my right and in front of me.— Michael Sorrell (@michaelsorrell) February 26, 2013
One of the first questions -- where are you going?I'm in a suit and driving a nice car in the middle of the day. This guy. #DWB— Michael Sorrell (@michaelsorrell) February 26, 2013
We called Sorrell on his cell phone Tuesday afternoon for more details about the stop, but the connection was garbled. We followed up with a text message but have yet to hear back.
As for the Dallas Police Department, Chief David Brown just so happened to brief City Council members on racial profiling statistics earlier this month.
The data, basically a breakdown of traffic stops based on the driver's race, show that black drivers are more likely to get pulled over (they accounted for 34 percent of traffic stops) than the city's racial composition (it's 25 percent African American, per the 2010 Census) would indicate.
Brown touted that data as proof that the department is complying with racial profiling laws, pointing to the dismissal of all 12 racial profiling complaints against DPD considered during 2012 as proof.
That doesn't mean it never happens, just that, short of a Rodney King-style dash-cam video, proving an officer performed a traffic stop because of race rather than an improper lane change is difficult.
Then again, Sorrell is a Duke-trained lawyer, as he didn't hesitate to proclaim.
Here's the surprise for him. I'm a lawyer too. I'll see his shady, brothers can't have nice cars, unreasonably seating self in court. #DWB— Michael Sorrell (@michaelsorrell) February 26, 2013