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Black Princeton Professor Claims ‘Racism’ After Being Arrested Over Years-old Unpaid Parking Ticket

"But this demand for behavioral perfection from Black people in response to disproportionate policing and punishment is a terrible red herring."

Motorists drive past a sign warning of upcoming traffic cameras Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Cleveland. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and others are making a last-minute pitch to defeat a ballot measure that would severely limit use of automated speed and red light cameras. Approval of a measure on Tuesday's ballot in Cleveland would require police officers to write tickets at automated camera sites. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

A black Princeton University professor, who was arrested during a traffic stop on Saturday over a 3-year-old unpaid parking ticket, is protesting the police officers' treatment of her, claiming she was mistreated because of her race.

Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American studies at Princeton, said that the two white police officers who arrested her during the traffic stop conducted a body search and handcuffed her to a table at the police station, according to the Daily Princetonian. Even though a female officer was present, Perry said the male officer performed a body search, leaving her shaken by the incident and questioning the officers' treatment of her as she renewed her commitment to fight against "racism" and "carcerality."

Officers initially pulled Perry over for driving 22 over the speed limit, going 67 in a 45 m.p.h. speed zone, Capt. Nicholas K. Sutter, the department chief, told the New York Times, adding that the officers learned during the procedure that her driving privileges had been suspended while a warrant for arrest had been issued in response to two unpaid parking violations from 2013.

The police chief from Princeton, N.J., said that officers involved in Perry's case followed proper department policies in how they handled her arrest, Perry believes otherwise.

In a series of tweets that have since been deleted, Perry allegedly detailed the experience before following up with a Facebook statement on Monday: "The response I have received since sharing my story has been overwhelmingly caring and thoughtful. Many people are vigilant and impassioned these days regarding policing. This is a direct result of the social movement that has emerged over the last several years. That is good. And it personally feels wonderful to be so supported."

Despite the support she said she has received, Perry also wished to address those who do not support her claims in her statement, asking that they "will consider the possibility that the way I was treated had something to do with my race, and that we have a serious problem with policing in this society particularly with respect to Black people."

"There are a number of commentators online who have repeated to me an all too common formulation: 'Well, if you hadn’t done anything wrong this wouldn’t have happened,'" Perry added in her post. "But this demand for behavioral perfection from Black people in response to disproportionate policing and punishment is a terrible red herring."

After paying the outstanding fines amounting to $130, Perry was released.

“I don’t want to sound in any way like I am being defensive or arguing that Dr. Perry is not entitled to feel the way she does,” Sutter told The New York Times. “We are part of the larger law enforcement community in our current times in law enforcement. Therefore I understand how in this climate we can be perceived to be a microcosm of that.”

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

 

 

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