One of my favorite things on the internet is the genre of YouTube videos posted by white people illustrating to police officers their knowledge of their constitutional rights. They carry guns and don’t get shot in the back. They don’t even roll their windows down during traffic stops because it’s their right! This is white privilege.
My second favorite thing on the internet is white people who insist that cops wouldn’t keep shooting black people in the face if black people obeyed the law. What these people fail to understand is that—when it comes to black people—there is no such thing as a Constitution or a “right.” In our America, police are the Constitution. They are the law. They are all potential murderers armed with guns, immunity from prosecution and the full authority of the state. They can do whatever they want.
Just ask Genesis Hansen.
On Oct. 13, Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Kelly Katsikis arrested Hansen, a 21-year-old Oregon State student, CNN reports. Fulfilling his sworn duty to protect and serve the innocent, law-abiding citizens of Corvallis, Ore., the officer initially stopped Hansen for dangerously riding outside the lanes of the road. And refusing to show her driver’s license.
She was on a bicycle.
The 38-minute video begins with Hansen shrugging and politely telling the life-saving peace officer that she would be more than happy to read any information he is willing to share but she refused to “comply” with the officer and show her license, which is her right as a citizen in Oregon.
Katsikis calls for backup and demands that Hansen show her identification, which Hansen repeatedly refuses to do. During the entire exchange, Hansen does not raise her voice. The probably dumb officer eventually pulls out a book listing Oregon statutes and offers to read the definition of the law she is breaking. He eventually reads her the definition of “interfering with a police officer.”
“I need you to either give me your identification now or you’re going to be placed under arrest,” the officer says. “Which do you want to do?”
“I don’t answer questions,” Hansen responds.
The two officers take down Hansen, who describes herself as “a petite African American mixed woman” and call for backup. She was eventually taken to the Benton County Jail.
“There isn’t a statute requirement for you to present your driver’s license when you are riding a bicycle,” said Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson. Haroldson informed officers that there were no grounds to charge Hansen with a crime after reviewing the footage several times.
“[W]e view this civil rights violation by state and local law enforcement as another example of racial inequity and excessive use of force imposed on communities of color by law enforcement,” the Alaska Oregon Washington State-Conference of the NAACP said, in a statement.
“She must have been doing it wrong,” said some white dude on Twitter.
Thank God that the people of Corvallis, Ore., are now safe from the scourge of reckless cyclers.