Sandra Bland’s tragic death revived questions about racial profiling, police conduct and civil rights in America.
We’ll never know all the facts about that incident, but I know a little about what Ms. Bland and countless other Americans have experienced.
Seven months ago, I was stopped, detained and ultimately released outside Houston in an arbitrary — but probably legal — operation by a Drug Enforcement Agency officer. My strategy was a little different from some: I decided I’d do the listening and let the officer do the talking.
I was alone, driving east on Interstate 10 when the officer drove beside me in a gray, unmarked SUV and signaled for me to pull over. He approached my 5-year-old Toyota Corolla on the passenger side, hand on his sidearm. He asked if I had a weapon (I didn’t) and politely ordered me to step out of my car and stand halfway between his vehicle and mine, in a negative space 10 meters away from each vehicle. I followed all commands and handed over my license and registration. He ran the plate and asked a few perfunctory questions. All of this took about 12 minutes.