Another over-the-top Police stop of a black man for DWB in Dayton. This comes on top of news of a Harris County, Texas Officer being shot execution style at a gas station – and what seems to be a rise in violence against Police in general. Hard to tell at this point if there is any correlation as the shooters have been both black and white. But as a person who has gone through the DWB routine, living in a high end majority white neighborhood for over 30 years – Once being stopped because the Dealer installed tags on my expensive car had a clear plastic cover (just as the hundreds of other cars sold by the local dealer in that town)…I can certainly agree with John Felton’s frustration
John Felton was driving to his brother’s house in Dayton, Ohio, on a recent night when he noticed a police car tailing him. Not wanting to give the officer any excuse to pull him over, Felton, who is black and was visiting Dayton from Michigan, tried to drive extra carefully. But the effort was insufficient: Soon after making a turn, Felton was forced to stop his car and show the officer his driver’s license.
It turned out Felton had not switched on his turn signal at the exact right moment; as you can see from the video Felton made of the encounter and sent to talk show host David Pakman, the white officer told him he had failed to signal within 100 feet of making his turn.
But why, Felton wanted to know, had the officer decided to follow him in the first place? That’s when the stop went from being an ordinary illustration of racial profiling to an extraordinary one.
“You made direct eye contact with me and held onto it when I was passing you,” the officer told Fenton. The implication was that Fenton had marked himself as a suspicious character simply by looking at the officer.
Update, Aug. 28, 5:10 p.m.: The city of Dayton put out a statement about the incident, acknowledging that “making direct eye contact with an officer is not a basis for a traffic stop.” The statement implies—but doesn’t say outright—that in pulling Felton over for not signaling within 100 feet of a turn, the officer was complying with a Dayton police initiative called “Safe Communities Through Aggressive Traffic Enforcement,” aimed at reducing traffic-related fatalities. The statement also says that the police department “is in contact with Mr. Felton,” and that he “has agreed to a conversation with the officer, facilitated by the Dayton Mediation Center” that will “allow Mr. Felton and the Officer to discuss the specifics of the incident.”