Black Princeton professor: I was arrested, handcuffed to a table for parking ticket
(Princeton University, Office of Communication)
A black professor at Princeton University took to social media this past weekend, claiming she was handcuffed to a table and denied the opportunity to make a phone call when she was arrested for an unpaid parking ticket from three years ago.
Imani Perry's Twitter account of her arrest and her subsequent Facebook post sparked a debate between people who believed the incident was an example of racist behavior and those who believe it was a minor incident, blown out of proportion.
According to Perry, a Hughes-Rogers professor of African American Studies at Princeton, police pulled her over and allegedly performed a body search on her and also refused to allow her to make a phone call before the arrest. When she arrived at the police station, Perry says, police handcuffed her to a table.
Perry, who has declined requests to speak to the press further on the issue, said in a Facebook post that the "overwhelming" support she's received from people since her tweets were sent out is "a direct result of the social movement that has emerged over the last several years." Perry was referring to the national debate that has emerged in recent years over police treatment of black people.
"That is good. And it personally feels wonderful to be so supported. However, there are quite a few people who seem upset that I received support," Perry wrote on Facebook. "Mostly they are suggesting that I am playing 'innocent' when I am 'guilty.' What they fail to understand is that I did not purport to be without fault. 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."
Princeton Police had not yet return calls for comment by New Jersey 101.5 late Monday but Police Chief Nicholas Sutter told The Washington Post, “We’re having it investigated by our prosecutors’ office to be totally transparent and objective. We’ll make any changes to our protocol if deemed necessary.”
Sutter told the publication that he has reviewed the video and thought the officers responded fairly and in accordance with policies.
The article further states that Perry was pulled over Saturday after police allegedly observed her driving 67 mph in a 45 mph zone. During the course of an investigation, police discovered an outstanding warrant for two unpaid tickets.
The Washington Post article states that according to the chief, under New Jersey Law, "if there’s an active warrant, officers are required to take the person into custody."
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.