Police officer accused of racial profiling after pulling over driver for expired licence plates
A video of a police officer pulling over a driver for having expired licence plates on his rental car that ended up not being expired at all has garnered a lot of attention on social media.
In the video, the cop explains to the driver that the plates are expired and that the responsibility for having up-to-date plates is on the driver, despite the vehicle being a rental.
"You call Enterprise, that's not my car," the driver said.
As the officer continues to insist the plates are expired and that the onus is on the driver — not the rental company. The driver then decides to come out of the car to see for himself.
This is when he notices the completely valid dates on the licence plates and deems the incident racial profiling.
A driver filmed an Ottawa police officer who stopped him for expired plates on a rental car that weren’t even expired 🤦♂️-📹 @J4Abdirahman #Canada #Ottawa #RacisminCanada #BLMCanada pic.twitter.com/xfmontUWTF— Freshdaily (@freshdaily) September 2, 2020
"Oh that's my mistake," the officer can be heard saying.
This prompted the driver to ask if he was pulled over because he is Black.
"I didn't see who was driving the car, I looked at the plates," the cop responds, adding that he ran the plates through the system.
This, of course, prompted a ton of backlash on social media from those who say that the cop should have noticed the valid dates on the licence plates if he truly did run them through the system.
It’s very strange that the officer said he ran the plates and then held to it until the driver was able to verify by going to show him that the plate was fine. Can you explain how the officer was able to be so sure in his decision until the citizen was able to prove it wasn’t— straight men dont drink through straws!!!! (@Nightshiftoowl) September 1, 2020
"The police officer insisted he ran the plates and argued with the driver, threatening to give him a ticket. I empathize with this driver, because this type of thing happens often. Profiling has detrimental impacts on the mental health of Black people," someone else wrote.
Disgusting that it ever happened and infuriating that it continues to happen.— Marnie Wellar (@okaymarnie) September 1, 2020
Others pointed out that this could have been an honest mistake by the police officer.
I don't see how this driver was treated unfairly? It's possible that the data on the screen was incorrect or officer was coming off a long shift. Human errors happen. Officer was quick to admit it and apologized. Move on. Also funny that driver didn't know when he rented the car— 𝚂𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚖 🇨🇦 (@EuphoriaStorm) September 1, 2020
In response to the video, the official Ottawa Police twitter account said that after reviewing the incident, both parties appeared respectful.
We reviewed the video and resulting social media posts. There was a respectful officer trying to ensure road safety while explaining his concerns to the driver; and a respectful driver trying to safely operate his rented vehicle while explaining his actions to the officer.— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) September 1, 2020
In another tweet, the police added that "during the interaction, the officer realized he made a mistake - he owned it and fully apologized for it.@OttawaPolice is very aware of the legitimate concerns raised by community members about racial profiling."
As a Service, we strive to make all of our interactions with the public respectful and bias-neutral. We have introduced new policies, training & education for all officers in order to address these issues.— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) September 1, 2020
We recognize that we must always look for ways to improve.
The video was shared by Justice for Abdirahman, a group dedicated to challenging racial inequity, named for Abdirahman Abdi, a Somali-Canadian man who died in 2016 after a violent altercation with Ottawa police officers.
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