#StandWithPerry backlash after Princeton police release dashcam footage of black professor’s arrest
The Princeton Police Department in New Jersey has released dashcam footage of the controversial arrest of a black Princeton professor during a traffic stop last week, following a social media storm over the incident.
Imani Perry, a professor of African-American studies, claimed she was mistreated because of her race by two white (one male, one female) police officers who searched her and handcuffed her to a table.
Perry also complained the male officer carried out a “body search” even though a female officer was present.
The dashcam video shows police approach Perry, explain her arrest, and tell her they have to put her in handcuffs. Police have not released footage, however, from inside the station where Perry claims she was handcuffed to a table.
Princeton Police Department chief, Captain Nicholas K. Sutter, told the The New York Times that he watched the footage and found nothing unusual, adding that the two officers had followed policy during the arrest.
Sutter said Perry was arrested Saturday morning for driving at 67mph (107kph) in a 45mph zone. During the subsequent routine check, officers found Perry’s driving license had been suspended and a warrant issued for her arrest over two unpaid parking violations from 2013.
The professor had claimed in a detailed Facebook post Monday that she was arrested for a single “three-year-old parking ticket”.
“The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter,” she wrote on Facebook.
“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. If it is not the case that this is the general practice, then I hope everyone reading will consider the possibility that the way I was treated had something to do with my race, and that we have a serious problem with policing in this society particularly with respect to Black people.”
Perry’s Facebook post and tweets about the incident generated huge interest online, with many demonstrating their solidarity with her by using the hashtag #StandWithPerry.
Sending lots of love your way @imaniperry #StandWithPerry— jamilah lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) February 9, 2016
Black women are treated like second class citizens in Princeton. Time for a change. #StandWithPerry— Carla Debbie Alleyne (@ScarletCord) February 9, 2016
America has a system of law that incarcerates someone based on an unpaid parking ticket. #StandWithPerry— #ABC2k16 (@BlakeDontCrack) February 9, 2016
A white woman would NEVER be handcuffed to a table. Nor would a man pat her body down when a woman officer is present. #StandWithPerry— AfricanaWomanist (@DevaSTating_14) February 9, 2016
I hope people are paying attention to how the cops are willing to expose @imaniperry to further harassment because she complained at all— geejayeff (@geejayeff) February 10, 2016
However, Perry also drew criticism for her comments about the arrest, and again following the release of the dashcam footage.
Imani Perry is about to become a very unpopular person to many parties.— Thelemic Waves (@ThelemicWaves) February 12, 2016
#StandWithPerry Another laughable lie exposed. When will you people learn?— R Thomas (@Plate0fShrimp) February 12, 2016
Funny how she disappeared from social media when they released the dash cam and facts about her record and the arrest. #imaniperry— Judge Smails (@whatasissy) February 11, 2016