CORINTH, Texas – A black female dean at the University of North Texas was busted this week for attempting to make a routine police stop into a racial profiling incident.
Dorothy Bland, the dean the University of North Texas’ journalism school, wrote in a recent column for the Dallas Morning News that she was stopped by police Oct. 24 for “walking while black” in her upscale Corinth neighborhood.
“I often walk about 3 miles near daybreak as part of my daily exercise. However, on Oct. 24, I delayed my walk until late morning as I waited for the rain to stop. I was dressed in a gray hooded ‘Boston’ sweatshirt, black leggings, white socks, plus black-and-white Nike running shoes. Like most African-Americans, I am familiar with the phrase ‘driving while black,’ but was I really being stopped for walking on the street in my own neighborhood?” Bland wrote.
“Yes. In the words of Sal Ruibal, ‘Walking while black is a crime in many jurisdictions. May God have mercy on our nation.’”
Bland alleged police forced her to stop with sirens and lights, then harassed her for being black, according to The Blaze.
Knowing that the police officers are typically armed with guns and are a lot bigger than my 5 feet, 4 inches, I had no interest in my life’s story playing out like Trayvon Martin’s death. I stopped and asked the two officers if there was a problem; I don’t remember getting a decent answer before one of the officers asked me where I lived and for identification.
I remember saying something like, “Around the corner. This is my neighborhood, and I’m a taxpayer who pays a lot of taxes.” As for the I.D. question, how many Americans typically carry I.D. with them on their morning walk? Do you realize I bought the hoodie I was wearing after completing the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education in 2014? Do you realize I have hosted gatherings for family, friends, faculty, staff and students in my home? Not once was a police officer called. To those officers, my education or property-owner status didn’t matter. One officer captured my address and date of birth.
I guess I was simply a brown face in an affluent neighborhood. I told the police I didn’t like to walk in the rain, and one of them told me, “My dog doesn’t like to walk in the rain.” Ouch!
Bland explained that she took pictures of the officers with her iPhone and wrote up her take on the stop and posted it online “for safety’s sake.” Before long, her friends were spreading the news from coast to coast, she wrote.
Bland also contacted the mayor to vent her frustrations.
The problem is, dash camera footage from the police cruiser dispute Bland’s recollection of events, and make it clear the stop had nothing to do with race and everything to do with preventing Bland from hurting herself or others.
Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall set the record straight in a letter to the Dallas Morning News that was tacked onto the bottom of Bland’s column. Walthall’s response essentially exposes Bland as a race baiter and a liar.
“My officers, a field training officer and a recruit, observed Ms. Bland walking in the roadway wearing earbuds and unaware that there was a pickup truck directly behind her that had almost come to a complete stop to avoid hitting her,” Walthall wrote.
“The driver of the truck looked at the officers as they passed and held his hands in the air, which implied ‘aren’t you going to do something about this?’ The officers turned around and drove behind Ms. Bland.”
That’s when the officers turned on their dash camera and emergency lights. They never sounded the sirens. The officers approached Bland respectfully, explained she was impeding traffic, and politely asked her to walk against traffic so she can see when vehicles are coming and move out of the way, if necessary.
Walthall wrote the officers observed Bland earlier in the day but did not stop her because she wasn’t impeding traffic at that time.
“Impeding traffic is a Class C misdemeanor, and it is our policy to ask for identification from people we encounter for this type violation. I am surprised by her comments as this was not a confrontational encounter but a display of professionalism and genuine concern for her safety,” Walthall wrote.
“Please review the video and I’m sure you will agree the officers’ intent was simply to keep her safe. Ms. Bland never contacted the police department to voice her concerns regarding this encounter and has not returned my phone message left at the number provided by the mayor.”