WATCH: Arrest of black Princeton professor who says she was mistreated
Princeton Police have released dashcam video of the traffic stop of Princeton University professor Imani Perry, who said she was handcuffed to a table and denied a phone call during her arrest following a traffic stop.
Imaini, in an account of the arrest she posted to Facebook after receiving attention for a series of tweets about it, said the "fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter.”
Perry has said she was arrested over unpaid parking tickets.
Perry has also since posted on Facebook to say that she has deactivated her Twitter account after people tried to hack into it. Among the messages she'd posted on Feb. 7. "The police refused to allow me to make a call before my arrest, so that someone would know where I was." "There was a male and a female officer, but the male officer did the body search before cuffing me and putting me in the squad car." "I was handcuffed to a table at the station.
The video, released by police Thursday, shows the officer who stopped Perry informing her that her Pennsylvania driver's license was suspended, which seems to surprise Perry. The Hughes-Rogers professor of African American Studies tells the officer in the video she did not change the address on her license when she moved from Philadelphia.
As the officer checks on the suspended license, he discovers an arrest warrant issued over two unpaid parking tickets in Princeton. Planet Princeton reported Perry did not pay the fines nor appear in court on two parking tickets, resulting in the warrant. The site said the license suspension was unrelated to the tickets.
The officer tells her in the video she should not be driving, and he would take her to the campus.
After Perry gets out of the car, the officer says that when someone is arrested on a warrant, procedure requires that person be handcuffed. The officer tells her that she can make "as many phone calls as you want" at police headquarters. A patdown of Perry was done off camera.
On her Facebook page, Perry said that given the hostile reaction she said her story has received, the release of the video "puts me and my family at risk.
In her Facebook note on the arrest, Perry said that in every profession, people exercise discretion over who "they favor and who they disfavor, who they believe matters and who they consider inconsequential." She argued her treatment during the stop is part of a pattern of how "people in this socicety consistenyly disadvantage black people compared to others."
"Some people have said that I should have expected what I received," she wrote. "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 of 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.
Princeton police have said
Princeton Police Chief Nicholas K. Sutter told the New York Times this week his officers followed protocol in the stop and arrest.
“The warrant commands the officer to take the person into custody,” the Times report quoted Sutter saying.
Officers searched and handcuffed Perry before placing her into the squad car, and while at the police station she was handcuffed to a workstation and booked, Sutter said, according to the report. She was released after paying $130 in fines, it said.
In a letter to the Princeton community, school President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote this week that he shares the concerns of people shocked by the arrest over unpaid tickets.
"We welcome an investigation not only of the treatment of Professor Perry, but of the underlying policies, practices, and protocols that were applied," he wrote."
"We share with the town a commitment to fair treatment of all members of our community and of making the entire Princeton community as welcoming, respectful, and inclusive as possible. We will continue to look for opportunities to advance those goals on our own campus and beyond it," Eisgruber wrote.