Dorothy Bland, dean of the journalism school at the University of North Texas enjoys morning walks as part of her exercise routine in the Corinth, Tx. neighborhood where she resides. This past week on Saturday her routine was interrupted for a few moments by Officers from that jurisdiction in what most rational people would consider a casual encounter if not amiable. Before proceeding, please watch a video of the brief encounter.
Immediately after this encounter Ms. Bland immediately went to her “good neighbor” the Mayor of the Municipality’s home on Saturday and asked him “Do I look like a criminal?” and apparently told him her own side of the story which one can only assume was as embellished as the letter to the editor that she followed up with.
Clearly she didn’t go to the mayor’s home for a “sanity check” as she stated, but rather to cause the two officers as much trouble as she could for “racial profiling” her as humanly possible. The photograph of the two officers she had taken she made sure she posted to social media and was apparently very happy with herself for the results that she received bragging about the hundred comments including likening her “Henry Louis Gates and others with the same experience,” and comments that stated “We must stop racial profiling.”
Her account was published in the Dallas Morning News starts off with “Flashing lights and sirens from a police vehicle interrupted a routine Saturday morning walk in my golf-course community in Corinth.” Sirens? I watched the unedited clip several times however I never heard any sirens.
Bland then goes into a well written paragraph about what she was wearing including a ‘gray hooded “Boston” sweatshirt’ which she later defines as a ‘hoodie’ after comparing herself to Travon Martin and posing the question if she was “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?”
Well it wasn’t really a true question it was rhetorical because she then answers it stating “Yes. In the words of Sal Ruibal, “Walking while black is a crime in many jurisdictions. May God have mercy on our nation.”
Her account, continues with her view of the encounter through her own perception with the paragraph: “Knowing that the police officers are typically armed with guns and are a lot bigger than my 5 feet, 4 inches, I had no interest in my life’s story playing out like Trayvon Martin’s death. I stopped and asked the two officers if there was a problem; I don’t remember getting a decent answer before one of the officers asked me where I lived and for identification.”
Now, if you are not afraid yet for her safety you should be, at least in her eyes. She is apparently terrified of two Officers in broad daylight, on the street ‘typically armed with guns’ (I guess criminals are the only people that should have them and Officers should only use kind words?) and are a lot bigger than her. Well at 5 feet 4 inches tall, most high school seniors and probably most of the students on the campus she teaches at are taller than her, is this relevant? But she has to interject Travon Martin. A man who after two investigations, one by local law enforcement and one by federal law enforcement was found to be the aggressor in a self defense case where Martin was killed by another citizen, not a Police Officer. However apparently Martin a black youth was killed by a Hispanic male that media reported as white and somehow the Journalism Dean is making a comparison again.
Lastly in that paragraph of her recollection, she never remembers “getting a decent answer” of why she had been stopped by the two officers. However when the Officers approached her the first officer to talk to her stated exactly WHY they stopped her.
That a truck had to come to a near complete stop to avoid hitting her as she walked in the road on the wrong side of the street with her earbuds in listening to music as she walked. The officers who would have been fully within the law to issue her a summons for impeding traffic, simply offered her the advise that children are taught, to walk on the other side of the road so that they can see oncoming traffic. The officers were looking out for her safety and didn’t want to see her get hit by a vehicle.
Yes they stopped her, asked her for identification so that they would have the stop on record. This is done with everyone as a matter of business and public record. While she did not have her identification on her, they did not give her any hassles about it, they took her word for it and made light and pleasant conversation about it which she twisted and misconstrued in every conceivable way until the officers were the bad guys and she was racially profiled.
She then proceeds to liken herself to “Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray and the dozens of others who have died while in police custody.” Then gives the excuse that for ‘safety’s sake’ she should post the Officers photos to facebook. Perhaps she needs to understand the basic concept that in order to die in Police Custody, one needs to be in Police Custody? If you are not with the Police and are posting to facebook regarding your ‘Racially Profiled Police Stop’ you probably are not in custody anymore and the likelihood of actually ‘dying in police custody’ is severely diminished.
The article posted by the Dallas Morning News did give the counter point and rebuttal by Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall which was explicit and stated very well what exactly had happened as it was shown in the video. The additional information gathered was that the officers had seen Bland walking earlier and did not stop her because she had not been impeding traffic.
We are also informed that the operator of the pick up truck that Ms. Bland had impeded 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?”. That is what caused the two Officers to make the original stop. A citizens complaint.
The last thing that we learned was that “Ms. Bland never contacted the police department to voice her concerns regarding this encounter and has not returned my phone message left at the number provided by the mayor.”
Apparently Ms. Bland was happier posting her version of events to facebook to ensure her safety and “make sure she didn’t end up like Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray and the dozens of others who have died while in police custody.” Now hundreds of people can talk about the narrative of Dean Bland and her escapade of “being caught walking while black”