Marilyn Rhames, a Chicago teacher and education blogger, was stopped for using a cell phone (on speaker) while driving. The officer saw Rhames’ drivers’ license had expired a few weeks earlier on her 40th birthday.
Rhames was patted down, handcuffed, taken to the police station and placed in a holding cell, shackled to a wooden bench, she writes onEducation Week‘s Charting My Own Course blog.
Rhames is black. So was the police officer, who kept telling her it was “procedure” and “no big deal.”
She’d been on her way to a meeting of Teachers Who Pray.
After all that, Rhames was given a court date. If she doesn’t show up, she’ll owe $1,500.
The officer “spoke in a soft, sweet voice and kept smiling,” Rhames recalls.
A cop-friend of one of my friends told him that her niceness is part of the new “policing strategy” in Chicago–a part of the “hug a thug” campaign. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have apparently devised this passive-aggressive strategy that pressures young officers to drastically increase their arrests,while training them to do it with a smile.
No wonder so many people are being shot in Chicago. The cops are busy hauling in women with expired licenses.
I don’t have many contacts with police officers, but when I do, they always assume I’m a law-abiding citizen, not a drug dealer or international terrorist. I’m a white, middle-class woman of a certain age. And I am a law-abiding citizen. So is Rhames.