This University of North Texas professor accused these officers of stopping her for ‘walking while black’ but the dash cam video and the officers have a different story.
Dorothy Bland, dean of the journalism school at the University of North Texas, is used to taking a walk at daybreak. But rain delayed her exercise regimen until later Saturday morning when she began traversing the streets of her well-to-do Corinth neighborhood.
But soon “flashing lights and sirens from a police vehicle” paused her walk, she wrote in a column for the Dallas Morning News.
Bland was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and she’s black.
“Like most African-Americans, I am familiar with the phrase ‘driving while black,’ but was I really being stopped for walking on the street in my own neighborhood?” she asked.
Bland added that she stopped by the mayor’s house and asked him, “Do I look like a criminal?” She continued, “Mayor Bill Heidemann said no and shook his head in disbelief. I appreciate the mayor being a good neighbor, but why should he need to verify that I am not a menace to society?”
But after Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall caught wind of the incident, she wrote a response, which was in the second part of the Dallas Morning News piece, and said that the encounter was about Bland’s safety, not race — and that dashcam video from the officer’s patrol car proves it.
Walthall said the officers saw Bland walking in the street with earbuds and “unaware that there was a pickup truck directly behind her that had to almost come to a complete stop to avoid hitting her.”
“The driver of the truck looked at the officers as they passed and held his hands in the air, which implied ‘aren’t you going to do something about this?’” the chief wrote. “The officers turned around and drove behind Ms. Bland.”
Walthall noted that while the patrol car’s emergency lights were activated, no sirens were used, contrary to Bland’s claim — and the officers “immediately” told Bland about their concern for her safety and the pickup truck and that she should walk against traffic instead.
Read more: The Blaze