Dorothy Bland, Dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, Claims She Was Stopped by Police for ‘Walking While Black’

Dash-cam video image of Dorothy Bland’s brief encounter with police near her home in Corinth, Texas, Oct. 24, 2015.  YOUTUBE
Dash-cam video image of Dorothy Bland’s brief encounter with police near her home in Corinth, Texas, Oct. 24, 2015.
YOUTUBE

Video of Saturday Morning Encounter Prompts a Debate

Was the dean of a Texas journalism school on her morning walk caught “walking while black”?

Or is she drawing racial implications where none exist?

Dorothy Bland, dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, believes the former and wrote a column Wednesday to that effect, updated Monday, for the Dallas Morning News.

The police chief in Corinth, Texas, a city 25 miles northwest of Dallas where the incident took place, disagrees. So does James Ragland, an African American columnist at the Morning News. But both sides have supporters.

On the Morning News Facebook page, one of several where the issue was discussed, the dashcam video of the encounter had drawn 2.4k comments, 2,653 “likes” and 10,924 shares by Monday evening.

Since publication, Jenna Duncan wrote Friday for the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle, “the story has gained steam with conservative blogs, and more than 100 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Bland to be removed from her post. By Monday night, the figure had risen to 1,159.

Bland wrote Wednesday for the Morning News, “Flashing lights and sirens from a police vehicle interrupted a routine Saturday morning walk in my golf-course community in Corinth.

“I often walk about 3 miles near daybreak as part of my daily exercise. However, on Oct. 24, I delayed my walk until late morning as I waited for the rain to stop. I was dressed in a gray hooded ‘Boston’ sweatshirt, black leggings, white socks, plus black-and-white Nike running shoes. Like most African-Americans, I am familiar with the phrase ‘driving while black,’ but was I really being stopped for walking on the street in my own neighborhood?

“Yes. In the words of Sal Ruibal, ‘Walking while black is a crime in many jurisdictions. May God have mercy on our nation.’

“Knowing that the police officers are typically armed with guns and are a lot bigger than my 5 feet, 4 inches, I had no interest in my life’s story playing out like Trayvon Martin’s death. I stopped and asked the two officers if there was a problem; I don’t remember getting a decent answer before one of the officers asked me where I lived and for identification. . . .”

Duncan also wrote, “Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall said that since Bland’s and her opinions were published, the two women have talked about Bland’s experience.

” ‘She said that she was ready to let this go,’ Walthall said of Bland. ‘She had said her piece in the paper, and we had a small discussion about how things could have been different if she contacted the police department first.’ . . .”

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Source: The Root | RICHARD PRINCE