Thursday, April 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Black man is always a suspect

Just when you think most racism is subtle, a Davis police officer yanks you back to reality.

I live between Village Homes and Lake Boulevard, in West Davis. As I was mowing my front lawn on April 17 at 2:20 p.m., a Davis police car drove past. It made a U-turn, drove back and stopped in front of my house and driveway.

A policeman approached and asked, “Sir, do you live here?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“I need to see some ID,” he stated.

I attempted to ignite his common sense by stating that I had lived here for 30 years. It didn’t work.

“I still need to see some ID,” he demanded.

Since I am the only black person on the street, I thought of racial profiling. “Are you going to ask the others on the street for their ID?” I asked.

He answered, “No, you fit the description.”

“What is the description?” I asked.

“You fit the description,” he replied.

I told him that my ID was inside and went to get it. He followed me inside. He asked my name and I told him. Upon attempting to hand him my driver’s license, he stated, “That’s OK, it’s over. I can see that you live here, you had no trouble getting into the house.”

Afterward, I called the Davis Police Department and gave my name and location, and asked: Were they looking for a tall, slim black male?

“Not in general,” was the response.

“Are you looking for one right now?” I asked.

“No,” he answered.

I fear that the only description that fit is that of being a black American male, and therefore is an image of his ignorance. His action was more gut reaction of “see a black male” and think “suspect of something.” Perhaps he thought I was stealing a lawn mower and was mowing the lawn to make sure it worked.

My father appears to be right: “They have a select non-ability to believe you, and you are always a suspect.”
Eli Davis

Davis

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 9 comments

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  • Louise CravenMay 04, 2013 - 8:48 am

    I've known Eli Davis for more than 25 years. There isn't a kinder, more patient or responsible person in this town. I'm so sorry to hear that the police bothered him in this way, and proud that Eli brought it to the public's attention. The police officer's actions should be investigated and he/she should receive counseling and training. Eli deserves an apology.

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  • Lisa BaumeisterMay 05, 2013 - 4:42 pm

    Thank you Mr. Davis for your courage to share this painful experience with the public. I hope the Davis Police Department will either verify that there was truth to the officer's claim that you "fit the description" or deliver to you a public apology and deliver the officer, appropriate training to eliminate racial profiling.

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  • AnonymousMay 05, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    I grew up in Davis. Moved to that town in 86. Since living there I have been a victim of the Davis police department for racial profiling numerous times. I like living in Davis but unfortunately There is a lot of racism and racial profiling going on in that little town. My self with a few friends have been physically victimized by the Davis police department! Something needs to be done about this! It has been going on for way too long.

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  • José RodriguezMay 05, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    I have fallen victim to the Davis departments racial profiling. I have been pulled over a few times in Davis. And every time I asked them why they pulled me over. Their excuse was that my car matched the description of a car that was involved in something. But I know the real truth. It was because of the color of my skin. Unfortunately that's the real reason.

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  • Another VictimMay 05, 2013 - 8:53 pm

    If you have a suspect mentality, you will always be a suspect. In your head.

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  • TaraMay 05, 2013 - 9:59 pm

    This is truly disheartening to read a story as such. How can we, as a community, get passed these racial issues if the police, whom we are supposed to trust, do this? The Davis police department surely needs to investigate this situation and also provide training to those officers involved as well as a public apology. I personally know Mr. Davis and its a shame that he was treated as a suspect for mowing his lawn. Shame on you Davis PD.

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  • LuanneMay 07, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    I live in the Bay Area now after 17 years in Davis. I have not heard of this ever happening here but know it happens there. I have always known that Davis police officers have a massive superiority complex and would probably love to conduct racial profiling for something fun to do...

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  • DanielleMay 09, 2013 - 8:33 pm

    This is a very sad story. It is 2013 and this type of behavior is irreprehensible! Mr. Davis is a wonderful man who raised three wonderful children. He did not deserve this treatment and he DESERVES an apology! The Davis P.D. Officer should do the right thing...be a man and apologize for his awful racist behavior!

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  • BrendaJuly 16, 2013 - 6:57 pm

    I would like to contact the author of this article. We are looking to organize around the recent Trayvon Martin Hoodies Up March and Rallies and I this would be an imperative focal point here at Davis. Any help on this matter would be most helpful.

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