Justice

This Is Exactly What White Privilege Looks Like at Its Worst

Purdue University president and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels demonstrated the "power of white privilege" during a traffic stop near the Indiana university last week. After being pulled over by a Purdue University police officer for driving 42 miles per hour in a 20 mph zone, Daniels got off with a warning in a scene that was captured in dash cam footage.


The police encounter starkly contrasts with recent examples of Black drivers being pulled over for traffic violations only to face excessive force and criminal charges. When Sandra Bland made an illegal lane change, the officer who pulled her over became hostile, and she was subjected to a violent arrest and was found dead in a Texas jail cell three days later.

Here is the dashcam video footage of Sandra Bland's arrest.

New police dashcam video reveals how the Sandra Bland arrest escalated.

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Do you know why I stopped you?" the campus police officer asked after pursuing the Purdue administrator for more than a minute.

"I don't know. Too fast at the stop sign, or—" Daniels begins to respond. But he was cut off by the officer, who told him that he was actually going more than double the speed limit and then says, "It's fine. I'm gonna let you go." However, the officer said that she hadn't seen his license plate, suggesting that she would have treated him differently had she known that he was the university president.

RELATED: A Lawyer Gave Us the Blunt Truth About Sandra Bland's Arrest

Daniels, for his part, seemed appreciative of the officer's cooperation, thanking her for understanding that he was in a hurry to retrieve his cell phone for a scheduled call. He even Tweeted about the encounter, praising the good work and "usual alertness" of PUPD.

Civil rights advocates have pointed to the apparent race factor that separates Daniels' police encounter with those of Sandra Bland, Sam DuBose, and Corey Jones. DuBose was fatally shot by a University of Cincinnati police officer in July after being pulled over for driving without a front license plate. Corey Jones was shot and killed by a Florida police officer this month after his car broke down on the side of a road; the officer had stopped "to investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle," according to officials.

Officer In Sam Dubose Shooting Indicted for Murder

BREAKING: Here is the body camera footage of the killing of Sam Dubose in Cincinnati. Ray Tensing, the officer in the video, has been indicted for murder. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1IskM2wWarning: Contains graphic content.

Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It is not Daniels' fault that he was let off with a warning, and pointing to the racial disparity between this case and those cited above is not to blame this particular officer officer for these actions. Rather, the dash cam footage from Daniels' traffic stop reflects larger, societal problems related to issues of racial injustice in America, as the New York Daily News reported.

In a statement on the incident, Purdue spokesman Brian Zink said that "[n]o one is immune on campus for being stopped for traffic violations, and officers are encouraged to apply discretion in these situations and to determine appropriate enforcement action, based upon their training and experience. In this case, the officer implemented her discretion and issued a verbal warning. President Daniels was grateful for the department's work and even publicly tweeted about it."