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Paul Quinn College President Says Dallas Police Targeted Him for Driving While Black

Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell, left, at a 2011 protest against an ordinance that would direct more garbage to the McCommas Bluff Landfill.
Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell, left, at a 2011 protest against an ordinance that would direct more garbage to the McCommas Bluff Landfill.

On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after hearing journalist Laura Ling address the Dallas chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women in Far North Dallas, Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell was pulled over by Dallas police.

We know this because he Tweeted about it:

The #DWB hashtag is Twitter speak for "driving while black." Sorrell further describes the incident:

We called Sorrell on his cell phone Tuesday afternoon for more details about the stop, but the connection was garbled. We followed up with a text message but have yet to hear back.

As for the Dallas Police Department, Chief David Brown just so happened to brief City Council members on racial profiling statistics earlier this month.

The data, basically a breakdown of traffic stops based on the driver's race, show that black drivers are more likely to get pulled over (they accounted for 34 percent of traffic stops) than the city's racial composition (it's 25 percent African American, per the 2010 Census) would indicate.

Brown touted that data as proof that the department is complying with racial profiling laws, pointing to the dismissal of all 12 racial profiling complaints against DPD considered during 2012 as proof.

That doesn't mean it never happens, just that, short of a Rodney King-style dash-cam video, proving an officer performed a traffic stop because of race rather than an improper lane change is difficult.

Then again, Sorrell is a Duke-trained lawyer, as he didn't hesitate to proclaim.


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