Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's 5:45 p.m. on a weekday evening. As the Honda Accord pulls out of the apartment complex driveway, the driver notices the police car parked on the side. The driver goes through four STOP signs then sees the police lights in his rear-view mirror. He pulls over and places his hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.

Is something wrong officer?

License, registration and insurance.

I am taking my hands off the wheel to unhook my seatbelt. :::unhooks seat belt, hands back at 10 and 2::: I am taking my hands off the wheel to reach into the glove compartment for my information.

Where do you live?


What are you doing in Pomona?

I go to school at Cal Poly.

Why are you in Pomona?

I live here while I go to school.

Who owns the car?

My mom.

If I call this lady, she'll say 'Yes my son has this car?' If I call this lady, she'll know you have this car?

Yes, sir.

After 15 minutes, the officer comes back, returns the cards to the driver.

You were pulled over because one of the bulbs in the lights over your license plate is out. Have a good evening.

The driver is my nephew. This is the second time he's been pulled over in his 23 years. It is also the second time he's been pulled over and given the same reason "light bulb burned out over license plate." Both times he's been alone. The first time, he was pulled over by three cop cars and made to get out of the car, spread-eagled against the hood, then made to sit on the curb with his hands behind his back while four police officers went through his car and trunk and all things in them. He was scared to death, even after they officers told him to go home.

Oh yeah - no burned out light bulb.


The Loss Adjuster said...

The EXACT SAME THING has happened to me a few times. It's profiling, plain and simple. There's something about your nephew and it could be anything from race to personal style to the kind of car he drives. I get pulled over because of how I dress, generally.

Once, my passengers were a 6'5" Japanese-American man wearing leather pants and an East Indian girl (born and raised!) wearing a schoolgirl outfit. I was wearing a Buzzcocks t-shirt and cords. After sitting on the curb for 30 minutes I asked a cop, "Were you looking for a German, a Japanese guy, and an Indian girl? Because if you are, that's kind of awesome." The cop so didn't think that was funny.

Reese said...

Profiling for sure! My nephew is black; both times he was coming out of a predominantly white neighborhood at night. No matter if it's how you dress or how you look, it's harrassment and makes me fucking angry. I was pulled over once because my car fit the description of one used in a robbery by four black men. Yeah, I look like four black men.

"So a German, a Japanese guy and an Indian school girl get out of a car..."