- Posted August 16, 2013 by
Santa Barbara, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
Encounters with Law Enforcement in Santa Barbara
I didn’t take it seriously, but a few weeks later I drove into a bank parking lot on Milpas Street to withdraw funds from an ATM, where a police car followed me. One of the officers approached me to ask where I was going. I explained that I was about to withdraw some cash. I presumed he was satisfied, only to find I was still being followed as I drove away. After parking in front of my office on E. Montecito St. the officer approached me again to ask, “Where are you going, now?” With key in hand, I explained that I was going into my office. He asked for my driver’s license, asked me to wait where I was while returned to his car. Ten minutes later he returned and told me I was free to go, ironically, because until he stopped me that night, I had felt “free to go.”
A few months later I mentioned the incident while lunching with the then Chief of Police. He seemed incredulous. Later when Jesse Aguilera of the Santa Barbara News-Press reported on allegations of racial harassment by Santa Barbara Police Department, the Chief told him that he had not heard of any such incidents.
I phoned Jesse to share my experience. He wanted to use it but could not because I refused to provide my name. As a newcomer and father of young children I was uncertain of whether it was judicious to expose myself.
Over the years I have been pulled over numerous times since the initial encounter.