OPP Racism: Driving While Black on the 401
Most people who are not black have no idea of the stupidest kind of institutionalized racism that many black males have to deal with all the time.
One Nova Scotia man who had faced numerous such stops by police which became the subject of a human rights complaint coined the phrase "driving while black" as a result of being stopped by police engaged in spurious harassment. Did you know that when I had bought my first car I was stopped no less than 14 times within two months?
So, I am driving on the 401 early in the morning driving a respectful 95 KM/hr.
I was not in a big hurry and wanted to take no chances to even go one kilometre over the speed limit.
I had seen the reports of the police getting frustrated with drivers taking advantage of lighter traffic on the road by speeding during the pandemic.
I decided to look in my rear view mirror when I saw a car rapidly closing in on me at about 140 KM/hr.
I was concerned that the driver might have been drunk or not paying attention so I flashed my four-ways at them.
Shortly after police lights began to flash and I was stopped by OPP Officers Huddelston (Badge #14958) and King (Badge #15274).
I then asked when I rolled down the window, "Officers, I was driving within the speed limit, why did I get stopped? I wasn't speeding."
They replied that, "My speed which was within the speed limit was "suspicious" for the 401 and that I was driving behind a truck."
What kind of ridiculous reason is that? How many non-black people are getting stopped for obeying the speed limit?
They then added that it was further "suspicious" that I put my "four-way flashes on". I told them they were the ones who were suspicious driving like maniacs in an apparent unmarked vehicle like they were going to run me off the road!
I then told them their actions were consistent with racial profiling. They replied they didn't know that I was "black".
However, I am pretty sure they knew that I was black when they decided to ask for my driver's license in the common racial profiling behaviours of "carding" - because after all, maybe I might have been a "typically black" prison inmate who was driving to escape a parole officer or something?
Many weeks ago when I was resting in my car beside a convenience store in Peterborough, the OPP there had also decided "that was suspicious" and required me to take a breathylizer because a black guy like me must have been drinking. My breathylizer test came out to an absolute zero but now I avoid going through Peterborough and instead have decided to keep to official "Service Ontario" stops along the 401. However, once again the OPP figured out some stupid racist way to pull me over.
They you have it - yet another case of institutionalized racism by police in Canada.