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As Philly weighs minor car stops ban, helping Black residents know their rights

Police also gave tips for how to behave if you do get pulled over, like don’t lash out or become violent if you want to avoid potentially being arrested for a violation that may have only resulted in a ticket.

The best option is to remain calm, they said.

“Comply. Please comply, because you’re gonna lose [otherwise],” said community relations Officer James Dougherty.

Defense Attorney Caroline Turner (right) joined the 17th Police District’s Community Relations officers, Hickinson (center) and Dougherty (left) to answer community questions about dealing with police on July 21, 2021 at Xclusively Yours Event Hall in South Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Organizers said the “know-your-rights” event was also meant to foster an open dialogue between police and Black residents to help improve relationships, which remain frayed, in part because of car stops.

“The officer takes home things also, but you also have to understand that these are the things we live with every day. The trauma that we live with. The pain that we go through,” said Tyrique Glasgow, executive director of the Young Chances Foundation. “It’s something that’s embedded in us. Not just for a shift or your term on the force, but every day.”

Recent data compiled by the Defender Association of Philadelphia show police here pull over a disproportionate number of Black drivers for minor traffic offenses compared to white and Latino drivers. According to the same data, only a small percentage of those stops result in an officer confiscating any kind of contraband, including guns.

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