Dwight Bullard: Looks out of place

“I was a freshman in college, home for the summer. Two friends — both African American — and I were in the car of my friend’s mother, which happened to be a Lexus. We were coming from South Beach. We detoured through the Gables — one of my friends went to Coral Gables Senior High and knew a shortcut. We got pulled over — no speeding, no illegal lane change, just old-fashioned ‘looks out of place.’ We were asked for ID. And even though it was clear we had no criminal records, he made us sweat it out far longer than a normal traffic stop. He said: ‘There have been some break-ins in this neighborhood.’ That was supposed to justify the stop. Then two or three other officers showed up, as if we were a flight risk. We were cooperating, hands at 10 and 2, but here we are surrounded for a traffic stop.”

Dwight Bullard is a Florida state senator and educator.