New Jersey South Orange Maplewood School Board member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad has drawn criticism over her treatment of a police officer after she was given a citation for speeding.
The dashcam video recorded by the officer who pulled her over for driving 37 mph in a 25-mph zone drew scrutiny not because of her alleged violation, but because of what she said to the policeman.
Once the officer approaches her car, Lawson-Muhammad tells him, “My name is Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, I’m on the school board, I’m a community member of this town. I’m sorry if I was speeding.”
After apologizing emphatically, Lawson-Muhammad asks if her daughter may exit the vehicle so that she may proceed to school.
Her daughter is allowed to exit by the officer. After pleading to get her other daughter to school the officer says, “Ma’am, I’ll get you out of here as quick as I can.”
Lawson-Muhammad then says through sobs, “And I’m scared of cops, because you guys hurt black people.”
The officer responded, “Ma’am, do you want me to call an ambulance?”
To which Lawson-Muhammad says, “No I don’t want you to call me an ambulance. That was a f***ing insult.”
After returning from his squad car and explaining that he couldn’t withdraw the summons he had issued, Lawson-Muhammad proceeded to tell the officer, “Then I’ll call Sheena (referring to the president of the village) and your skinhead cop chief, too.”
Lawson-Muhammad is accused of using her husband’s position as lineage to the nation of Islam, as well as her stature as a public official to sway the officer who pulled her over.
Once the ordeal went viral, chairman of the SOMA Black Parents Workshop, Walter Fields, said, “When viewing the video, it is clear that Board Member Lawson-Muhammad attempted to exercise her civic privilege during a routine traffic stop.
“Board Member Lawson-Muhammad also infers that she is afraid of police, a reference that I believe attempts to manipulate the officer given the tensions between the African-American community and law enforcement. Under no circumstances is this behavior, from a public servant no less, acceptable; Ms. Lawson-Muhammad must resign her position.”