Black Professor Claims She Was Mistreated By Cops Over An Old Parking Ticket

by Sean Levinson

A black professor sparked debate after she said she was unfairly treated because of her race during an arrest over an old parking ticket.

Dr. Imani Perry is a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University.

On February 7, Perry posted a series of now-deleted tweets detailing an encounter she had with a male police officer the previous day, according to The New York Times.

She said she was on her way to work when a male officer arrested her for a "single parking ticket" she received three years ago.

The officer did not allow her to make a phone call, performed a "body search" and later handcuffed her to a table at the police station, Perry tweeted.

On Facebook, she wrote it seemed like she received excessive discipline because of her skin color.

The post read,

The police treated me inappropriately and disproportionately. The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter… I cannot ever say definitively that this specific mistreatment was a result of race. But I can say that what I experienced was far more likely because my skin is a deep brown, my nose is round, and my hair is coily.

Police Captain Nicholas K. Sutter provided an explanation for the alleged harassment to the Times.

According to Sutter, Perry was pulled over because she was driving 67 mph in a 45 mph zone.

The two officers who pulled her over apparently discovered Perry had two unpaid parking violations and a warrant out for her arrest.

The male officer then allegedly searched only her jacket pockets and ankle area.

Princeton Police Lieutenant Jonathan Bucchere told New York Daily News Perry was told not to text someone until they got to the police station, which was just a few minutes away.

Handcuffing her to the work table was standard procedure, Sutter said.

He told the Times,

Every single person brought back there is secured while the officer is processing.

Perry posted bail for $130 and was picked up by someone about an hour after arriving at the police station.

However, it appears Perry believes police are not being entirely truthful about the events that took place during her arrest.

For example, Perry said she thought she was being arrested for one parking ticket, not two.

Captain Sutter told The Washington Post the arrest is being investigated "by [the] prosecutors' office" and the department will "make any changes to [its] protocol if deemed necessary.”

He added,

I totally understand, any time someone is arrested it's traumatic – I totally understand perceptions, and I'm very sympathetic to perceptions [regarding police discrimination]... We're doing a lot of community outreach, and being extremely transparent. … We're open to discussion and critique — it's a healthy conversation.

After watching dash-cam video of the arrest, Captain Sutter concluded the officer correctly followed protocol.


Citations: Black Princeton Professor Says She Was Handcuffed to Table Over Parking Ticket (The New York Times), Black Princeton prof says she was treated inappropriately and disproportionately in parking ticket arrest (New York Daily News), A black Princeton professor says she was handcuffed to a table for her unpaid parking ticket (The Washington Post)