This Black Man Was Stopped by Police for Sitting in His Car, Reading C.S. Lewis
On July 7, former high school English teacher Louizandre Dauphin was fed up with the news cycle and decided to drive to a quiet place to do some reading.
Sound suspicious? Residents that saw him in his car thought so and, naturally, they called the police, who stopped the black New Brunswick, Canada, resident as he drove back home.
In his subsequent Instagram post about the incident, Dauphin said the officer told him that locals had reported a suspicious black man sitting in a parked car.
In the post, he explains that the week's string of racially charged violence in the United States, compounded with his own personal struggles, left Dauphin "stewing in my apartment," he wrote to his Instagram. So he decided to blow off steam with some nature and reading.
On his drive home, Dauphin was going slightly under the speed limit, so he was confused when an officer pulled up behind him with his lights on. The cop was "kind and respectful," wrote Dauphin, verified his information, asked him the "usual questions" and then asked whether Dauphin was in Janeville earlier that night.
When Dauphin expressed shock at being reported for just hanging out in his car, the officer replied, "Well, you know, it's a small town."
This wasn't the first time Dauphin has been pulled over either. Five years ago, he was stopped in his own neighborhood in Hamilton, just doors away from his former residence. "It was just another reminder that you can be a suspect in your neighbourhood."
Matthew Green, who is the first black city councillor of Hamilton, Ontario, told the CBC he was also questioned by police when waiting for the bus and that he's not surprised by what happened to Dauphin. "The narratives and stereotypes put out there by the media and elsewhere create an irrational fear of young black males," he said.
In Hamilton, the police services board is in the midst of revising its street check regulations, as a number of residents have been protesting them for what they believe is the unfair targeting of minorities.
And it sounds like the harassment has followed Dauphin.
"So, a black male, sitting in his car, reading a book is suspicious activity. Good to know. At this rate, I may never leave my home again," he concluded, hashtagging the post #DangerousNegro.