What’s worse than being pulled over nearly 50 times? Believe it or not, quite a few things.
Like racking up over $7,000 in fines and fees when you make just $30,000 a year. Or bearing the constant stress of being pulled over and fined, finally paying off one fine only to get more piled on. Even worse, there’s getting your license revoked because you had a hard time paying, but still needing to drive your car to get to work to be able to pay off the steady stream of fines, late fees and court fees.
This was Philando Castile’s life even before that final traffic stop, when a police officer shot him dead as he calmly reached for his wallet in compliance with the officer’s instructions. He’d received nearly 90 citations since 2002, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Castile paid a dear price for being a black man commuting through affluent white communities on his way to work. And it turns out that he’s hardly alone.
Myron Orfield, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who studies racial profiling, found that black people driving through the white suburbs of St. Paul are seven times more likely to be pulled over than white people and twice as likely to be arrested. In St. Anthony, where Castile was pulled over and killed, nearly half of all arrests are of black people, even though they make up only 7 percent of the local police jurisdiction.