Op-Ed

Perley Richardson: Black male, any black male

“I was driving home from the doctor’s office a few years ago at about 10 in morning and was stopped by Metro-Dade Police. Someone had broken into a house, and I just happened to pass by. I was in a green pickup truck, a Dodge Dakota. There was no other description, just a ‘black male.’ They assumed I was the getaway car. Four or five policemen all circled me, asked me to put my hands out of the window. I gave them my government ID and I told them where I worked. That wasn’t good enough. They wanted my driver’s license. One officer said to another, ‘I don’t think this is the guy.’ But the other officer said to hold me there.

“Then they asked to search my truck — thought I had somebody hiding in the truck. They saw me sweating profusely and turn on the AC. I told them I was coming from the doctor’s because I have severe hypertension and getting stopped by the police made my blood pressure even higher.

“I told them that I had been making that same trip to Jackson every two months for 19 years: ‘Do I look like I’m young enough to be breaking into somebody’s house? Look how old I am!’ Finally, they said, ‘You can go.’ ”

Perley Richardson is a retired IRS agent.

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