Speak up

Though I’m no longer social-media-connected, someone sent me a viral post from Indiana that charts a woman’s response to a traffic stop she witnessed and filmed with her phone.

“This is all for one man. One black man that was visibly scared at being pulled over,” it starts, with an image of a sedan and a half-dozen police vehicles. “I stayed. I stood where he could see me. I filmed. My heart skipped when they got him out, then cuffed him. He was compliant the entire time. One of the troopers was visibly aggressive with his body language. The black man stayed calm. More troopers came. This black man was never aggressive. I have all of this on video.”

Stopped near a state-park entrance, the woman says she was approached by park staff.

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“She screamed at me saying I was blocking traffic (as cars went by me just fine). She screamed at me that she was going to get security. She was screaming in my face,” the post continues. “I told her I was there to ensure this man was safe. Could she please stand six feet away from me, and to please call security?  I have this all on video. Meanwhile, the black man continued to cooperate, yet there continued to be five to six officers on the scene. They uncuffed him. The DNR staff’s shift was over; as she drove past me she screamed from her window, “Why are you recording? You are in Owen County, no one cares.’ A person in another car yelled, ‘Stop videoing, you idiot’.”

The black driver was written a ticket and allowed to depart. When the woman asked state park staff for the name of the woman who yelled at her, she was told such things weren’t allowed.

The post charted what occurred after the incident, and why she chose not to post the video of the hour-long event. She kept it for authorities, who are now investigating.

“White friends, has it ever taken you an hour to get written a ticket? White friends, have you ever had multiple state troopers and sheriffs rolled up when you have gotten a ticket? Neither have I,” the post continues. “Show up. Stand up. Speak up.”


Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.