DWB: Was This Black Man Stopped by Police for Reading in His Car?

DWB: Was This Black Man Stopped by Police for Reading in His Car?

Will Black bodies ever be safe in North America?

Published July 14th

A Black man in Canada recently experienced an unfortunate run-in with the cops. Louizandre Dauphin is the Bathurst, New Brunswick, director of parks, recreation and tourism. After a long week of work and news of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Dauphin felt like he needed to leave his apartment and get some fresh air.  

That’s when he decided to leave his home and read a book by the wharf. He posted on Instagram, “I decided to take a drive to the Stonehaven Wharf and sit by the water on this cold, rainy July day and try to pacify my mind by reading the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis.”

While he sat, reading in his car, apparently some people found his presence threatening and called the police. On his drive home, Dauphin was stopped by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.

Dauphin wrote in the same Instagram post:

“Thankfully, he is kind and respectful and asks me the usual questions; where I'm from and where I'm going. I tell him that I was at the Stonehaven Wharf reading a book pointing to the two books in the passenger seat. He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious Black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours.”

After the conclusion of their conversation, the officer let Dauphin go; however, Dauphin feels that his experience was similar to that of the Black American.

“We can't be so quick to point fingers or feel we're more exceptional than our American counterparts," Dauphin said. “[My experience] is just a reminder that no matter where we go in this country, there can be profiling or suspicion.”

It is surprising to know that even in a country like Canada, which has always been thought to be more civilized when it comes to race relations; a Black man can still be pulled over for simply reading in his car. 

You can read the full post by Dauphin below. 

Before any more Canadians get too comfortable on their high horses, let me share with you what happened to me about an hour ago. This week has not been easy for me. Amidst a number of personal and professional struggles, my mind has been occupied with the latest string of black males killed by the police over the last few days. So, instead of stewing in my apartment, I decided to take a drive to the Stonehaven Wharf and sit by the water on this cold, rainy July day and try to pacify my mind by reading the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis. After a couple hours by the ocean, quietly reading in my car, I begin the drive back to my apartment. I'm 20 minutes in to my drive back home and I notice an RCMP cruiser speed by me, travelling in the opposite direction. 10 minutes later, I notice the same cruiser approaching from behind at a high rate of speed. Naturally, I check my speedometer and I'm travelling at 87km/h in a 100km/h zone, following the car in front of me (the speed at which people drive out here is another story). Since I'm travelling so slowly I don't think anything of the cruiser behind me until he hit his lights. I pull over and wait for him to approach. Thankfully, he is kind and respectful and asks me the usual questions; where I'm from and where I'm going. He then proceeds to ask me if I was in Janeville earlier this evening. I tell him that I was at the Stonehaven Wharf reading a book pointing to the two books in the passenger seat. He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, "Really? I was just reading a book." He smiles, shrugs and replies, "Well, you know, it's a small town." and proceeds to ask me for my license. He verifies my information and sends me on my way. 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. #DangerousNegro

A photo posted by Louizandre Dauphin (@veraxial) on

Written by BET Staff

(Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

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