The Princeton University professor whose suggestions that her blackness played a role in her arrest — after a motor vehicle stop for speeding in which officers found warrants for unpaid parking tickets — says in her latest public statement she never claimed she was racially profiled.

Instead, African American Studies Professor Imani Perry writes, she belongs to a group that often is — and that made her "terrified" during the arrest.

She also says in the written message, titled "The End," she never wanted the media attention her claims prompted.

Perry caught local and national attention after a series of tweets about the arrest that included: “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.”

She has since deactivated her Twitter account.

In a further account of the arrest she posted to Facebook, Perry said the “fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter.” She argued black people are denied the benefit of police discretion broadly, as well as in cases like hers.

Perry, in her new message, said she'd tried to response to inquiries here and there, but issued the longer Facebook response to make her message clear. She said in the new post that her original points were:

I do not believe municipalities should generate revenue by using the police power to arrest. Taxes and fines should not be executed through physical coercion. As the justice department challenges Ferguson, Missouri to cease such practices-- ones that create modern day debtors prisons in poor communities-- it is worthwhile to raise questions about the practice generally, including in affluent suburbs.

 

I was terrified when I was pulled over, and then when I was arrested, because in this country police practices are racially discriminatory. There is a mountain of research to support this assertion. It isn’t up for debate. Moreover, over the past year and a half as a nation we have watched the footage of multiple deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police officers. The majority of the time there is no remedy for these deaths. This effectively grants police the authority to act with impunity. It may be hard to imagine for people who are not Black and/or Latinx, but this social reality produces terror for many of us when we encounter police officers, regardless of how they behave.

Perry said she still disagrees with Princeton Police in their characterization of the arrest — which police say was handled professionally, and was required by law because Perry had outstanding warrant (Perry was also driving with an expired license, police learned during the stop). And she said dashcam video showing the arrest doesn't address "most of what I objected to." But she said "I am removing myself from all engagements that sustain that distraction."

She said she doesn't disagree with the officers that their actions were standard protocol — "I I never did."

"My point is this," she continued. "Regardless of whether it is consistent with standard procedure and protocol, I should not have been handcuffed to a table for a parking ticket. Moreover, if it were five parking tickets I should not have been handcuffed to a table. A parking ticket is not an indication that a person poses a physical threat."

And she said if police weren't encouraged to arrest people for minor violations, "perhaps ... Eric Garner and Sandra Bland would still be alive."

Eric Garner died in Staten Island after a New York City police officer used a chokehold on him, in a confrontation during his arrest on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. The officer was not indicted in the incident.

A grand jury decided late last year that neither sheriff’s officials nor jailers committed a crime in the treatment of Sandra Bland when she died in a Texas county jail last summer, but has not yet determined whether the state trooper who arrested her should face charges. The Chicago-area woman was pulled over July 10 for making an improper lane change. Dashcam video showed the traffic stop quickly became confrontational, with trooper Brian Encinia at one point holding a stun gun and yelling at Bland, “I will light you up!” after she refused to get out of her car.

"The fact that state legislatures and municipalities and even many citizens approve of these forms of arrest acceptable does not mean they are wise," Perry wrote. "The evidence to the contrary is readily apparent. We must ask: Does selling loose cigarettes warrant a death sentence? What about a moving violation?"

She said racial discrimination in police practices makes the threat of serious penalties for minor offenses worse.

"Note: I have never said that in my case that there was necessarily racial bias at work," she said. "I could not possibly know whether that was at issue. But I do know that I belong to the racial group to which this happens more frequently than any other."

Perry said since her story became public, she's been "subject to hundreds upon hundreds of racial slurs, gender slurs, threats and insults on social media, by telephone, on conservative blogs, and via email."

She said she didn't intend to speak on the issue any further.

Perry's concerns prompted an investigation of the incident by the Mercer County Prosecutor's office, which found the officers involved should be "commended, not criticized" for their decorum during Perry's arrest.

She'd faced widespread criticism over her remarks. In New Jersey 101.5 Twitter poll, 94 percent of respondents said Perry owed police an apology:

New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea commended the police, and honored them as this week's #BlueFriday nominees — Spadea's ongoing effort to recognize police who go above and beyond the call of duty.

"You can’t blame the officers for doing their job. What you can do, is appreciate and congratulate the officers for doing their job to the best of their abilities. This is their procedure and Ptl. Michael Schubert and Ptl. Courtney Navas followed the procedures as they were supposed to," Spadea wrote in a blog post Friday.

New Jersey 101.5's Jeff Deminski said Perry's comment “The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter" was a "Hysterical thing to say because Imani Perry is the only person who seems to have been thinking about the color of her skin during this incident."

New Jersey 101.5 hosts' opinions are their own; do not necessarily reflect the views of the station, and may be in disagreement with one another.

But Perry did see some support. In a letter to the Princeton community, school President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote last week 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.”

The Trentonian's Jeff Edelstein, a frequent guest host for New Jersey 101.5, took another stance in a column this week. While he acknowledged Perry's allegations statements about race, he said he'd rather not engage them — but instead, the mere fact that unpaid parking tickets could lead to an arrest.

"Bottom line is this: There is no reasonable explanation as to why an unpaid parking ticket should lead to an arrest," he wrote. "We’re talking an infraction that cost the township a quarter, an unpaid fine of $40 the township didn’t collect and now … what? How much money was spent on the arrest? How much will be spent in court costs? Assorted other legal nonsense?"

He said he acknowledged Perry was "not an innocent victim," having ignored her parking tickets, driven without a license, and sped.

"How about instead of handcuffs and arrests we make it so you can’t get a new registration card until you pay your parking ticket? Or you get points on your licence if you don’t pay? Or almost virtually anything except what happened to Perry?"