Black Princeton Professor Raises Issues on Police

February 9, 2016

A black professor at Princeton University said in several recent posts to social media that she was arrested and mistreated by police over an unpaid parking ticket.

On Twitter Sunday, Imani Perry, an African-American history professor at Princeton, described being pulled over by police in Princeton Township and arrested “for a single parking ticket three years ago.” Police handcuffed her to a table, she said, refused to let her make a call before being arrested and, despite a female officer being present, a male police officer performed a body search.

A spokesman for the police department said Perry was pulled over for speeding, after which it was discovered that her driver’s license had been suspended and there was an active warrant for her arrest due to unpaid parking tickets. "She was put under arrest pursuant to the warrant, our policy and state law," the spokesman said. The police department has opened an investigation into the incident, all of which was recorded. (A local news site collected more details here.)

In a subsequent post to Facebook, Perry elaborated on her feelings about the incident. "I did not purport to be without fault," she wrote. "Now, make no mistake, I do not believe I did anything wrong. But even if I did, my position holds. The police treated me inappropriately and disproportionately. The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter."

"Some critics have said that I should have expected what I received. But if it is the standard protocol in an affluent suburb to disallow a member of the community to make a call before an arrest (simply to inform someone of her arrest) and if it is the protocol to have male officers to pat down the bodies of women, and if it is the norm to handcuff someone to a table for failing to pay a parking ticket, we have a serious problem with policing in the society."

+ -

Expand commentsHide comments  —   Join the conversation!

Opinions on Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U

Back to Top