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Friday, September 19, 2008

Mandatory Rehash Of The Dodgers Traffic Stop Story

A clear threat to society

I suppose I shouldn't be so blasé about Wednesday's traffic stop story; in case you've been living in a cave for the last few, the Pittsburgh police stopped Bucs' centerfielder Nyger Morgan while he was driving Russell Martin, Joe Beimel and Delwyn Young back to their hotel after Tuesday's game. The ostensible problem was too dark a tint on the front windows, which gave the cops entrée to search his car while they rousted the driver and his passengers, and most likely illegally searched them all. (I would like to know what version of probable cause has a too-dark-tint equalling a justification for hassling everyone in a car.) Diamond Leung got Martin's recount:
"Before you know it, I was sitting on the curb," Martin said. "It's funny. It's 12:15 a.m., and I'm trying to get to the hotel to get some rest.

"Fancy car. Young, African-American driver. We fit the description pretty good. We're in Pittsburgh.

"It was embarrassing."

And that's a charitable version. More evidence that the cops were just detaining Morgan for the crime of Driving While Black came when Morgan apparently produced papers indicating his window tint was legal. (The car was so new it didn't have license plates, but do the cops pull over everyone who has a new car?) It's this sort of sordid misbehavior that keeps me sending money to the ACLU. There's more discussion at BTF.

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This sort of thing happens all the time; it happened to an attorney I know, here in Los Angeles. White America just likes to pretend it doesn't.
HOF'r Joe Morgan also had a similiar incident at LAX, allegedly, he looked like a suspect.

A lot of white Americans know it exists, Jack - some are tring to kick all those of hispanic descent out of the country and being 'tough on immigration' gets you a lot of votes.

Rob - thanks for posting this - Appalling - i hope this is not the first and only place i read of this.
when i first started reading the piece, i thought it going to be just about fraternizing with the enemy - Martin never would have been hangin' with Pirates back in the day.
If Morgan should be arrested for anything, it's his next-to-useless color commentary on Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts.
Ok, work with me for a moment, because I'm really confused.

It was night time, right? So it was dark, the windows were tinted DARK, the police pulled them over for a possible violation. The driver got agitated according to his news interview. The officer requested backup, which makes perfect sense since it was what 1 or 2 cops and 4 adults in a vehicle.

Where is the illegal search? If the drive allowed them to search it's not illegal.

Why is this news?
It was night time, right? So it was dark, the windows were tinted DARK, the police pulled them over for a possible violation.

If the driver had paperwork indicating that the tinting was legal, the cops should have a pretty good idea of what is legal tint and what is not.

Where is the illegal search? If the drive allowed them to search it's not illegal.

Two words: probable cause. A traffic stop does in and of itself not grant automatic probable cause. That's called a fishing expedition, and why the Constitution (remember that arcane piece of paper?) prohibits such activity (search warrants are issued for specific things).
Another point: the point of the law was to make it so the driver would be visible to someone outside the car. If the tint was legal, it strips the cops of the excuse that they couldn't see inside the car in the first place.

Yeah, I understand the part about the driver getting agitated, but this looks pretty much like a clear-cut case of Driving While Black.
My point was that he could have refused to allow them to search the vehicle, but if officer asked and he complied that was his own fault, isn't it? I'm glad that nothing came out from the search since there were Dodgers involved.

Regardless if the tint was legal, that doesn't mean they could see inside the car, especially if it was night time.

Still, should this really be a news story? There are many people that get pulled over for such a violation.

My problem is that people want to make this a race issue, and it very well could have nothing to do with race.

Has there been verification that the officers were white? It's pretty silly for people to automatically think that the cops were white and did this just because the driver was black. Hell there was even a white guy in the car, unless Biemel started taking those pills that the guy in the movie "Soul Man" took.

I call this the Frankenstein affect, people always want to lynch before they know all the facts and they always want to blame the cops for being racist. Regardless if the kid was pointing a loaded weapon at them.

Racism goes both ways. It's the asshole that hates blacks, and it's the asshole that thinks whites hate blacks.
"If Morgan should be arrested for anything, it's his next-to-useless color commentary on Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts."

I'm with you 100% there. Morgan is useless in the world of baseball commentary!
Awareness of the reality of DWB among us caucasians is pretty low. I like to point out to my fair-skinned-brethren who argue that "Obama isn't really black" that he is black enough to spend an hour on the curb for legally driving wherever he wants, or black enough to spend an hour standing on a curb waiting to catch a taxi in any big city.
Oh please.

I have never known a white person to get pulled over for illegal window tinting.

It is common (and I mean, happens every day) for cops to use the window tinting as an excuse to pull over brown people in the hope of coming up with something to make an arrest.

Sure, he could have refused the search, and maybe with so many witnesses (including white men), the cop would have complied. But it is also pretty normal for the cop to just say, "fuck you, I'm going to search anyway," and what can the guy do about it? The cop is the one with the gun.
Clear-cut racism, whether the cops were white or black.

Thinking otherwise is dangerously ignorant.

I pray this story breaks on national news.
Jjack -- in one of the articles linked above, Joe Beimel (who used to pitch for the Pirates) said he had been pulled over for excessive tint before. So far as I have been able to tell, Beimel is white. So that is a sample size of one. But I still think it was really likely that the tint in Nyger's car wasn't all that dark, and the cops just figured...
It's clear cut racism to pull someone over in a car, if he's black?

What world are you living in? This isn't the 1800's in the deep south.
Are the cops in the habit of pulling over everyone in new cars with tinted windows in front and no plates?
You can deny reality all you want, Dan. Obviously, you've never worked in the criminal justice system, or you'd know that this goes on all the time. Prosecutors know it. Defense attorneys know it. Judges know it. Do all cops do it? Certainly not. But many do, and it's comical that you seem to think that it only happened in the past, in the south. Wrong.

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