A Black motorist claims he was falsely arrested and assaulted by Rockford police during a traffic stop, per MLive. Beyond the default implication of police brutality, a judge says the officer’s quota requirement may be tainted with racial bias as well.
Thurman King, 57, was stopped by police in 2019 for allegedly making an incomplete stop at a stop-sign and having a burned out license plate light, the report says. After the lights went on behind him, he drove a short way to his house and called for his fiancee, in fear of what might happen. The traffic stop then became violent as King recalled being thrown on the ground by the officers and kneeled on. The report says he spent 14 hours in jail and was slapped with charges for resisting and obstruction, which were later dropped.
Afterwards, King sued the city and officers involved. Instead of completely tossing the case as the defendants requested, US District Judge Jane Beckering ruled Monday that his case reveals something profound about how Rockford cops conduct traffic stops.
More from MLive:
In a 30-page ruling issued Monday, Oct. 24, Beckering said that King, bolstered by testimony of a law-enforcement policy expert, showed “the existence of a traffic quota increases the frequency of arrests and can lead to pretextual traffic stops and police misconduct.
“At this juncture in the litigation (Rockford Department of Public Safety’s) policy of requiring a minimum number of traffic stops, enforceable through discipline or threat of discipline, creates an inference that the Department was engaged in a pattern and practice that resulted in depriving Plaintiff of his Fourth Amendment rights. Therefore, summary judgment on Count II is properly denied.”
In a report from Land Line Media, Michigan’s law prohibits police officers from being required to meet a certain quota of traffic tickets. However, an exemption allows quotas to be a part of an officer’s evaluation. Per MLive, the Rockford requirement is two traffic stops per shift, however, it isn’t considered a “quota” if the citation isn’t written.
King’s attorney, Stephen Drew, wasn’t convinced. “That sounds to me like a quota for traffic stops; would you agree?” he said during a disposition. “When you have a policy that encourages traffic stops, it tends to be minorities that get stopped more often,” Drew told MLive.
There are plenty of police protocols that are evidently biased against Black people. Hopefully, King’s case will be able to shine light on this issue in every state outside of Michigan.