We were stopped in South Carolina on Wednesday because my wife committed the simple offense of driving while black.

My dad is a retired cop and he once went to a workshop where (ironically), two Latino-descent police officers explained a bunch of stats and basically told the audience something along the lines of how if a Latino man in his mid-20s is driving a Japanese midsize car and following all the rules, he probably has drugs and all you need to do is follow them for a few minutes until you can find a minor reason to pull them over.

I’m sure some bean counter in SC (and other states) compiles stats that imply Black drivers are x times more likely to have an expired license/no insurance/have a warrant/etc.).

The white female officer followed us for about three minutes before turning on the blue lights. We had passed two cruisers and a stopped car and when you’re doing 69 in a 70 zone, you cover more than three hundred feet in one second. The police officer would have probably issued a ticket or worse except that a) my wife has “Veteran” on her DL and b) I was with her and I’m a naval officer who is still on active duty. Additionally, we both hold degrees from the Naval Academy and we also both have post-grad degrees. I was a bit on the rude side with the cop and I was recording the stop on my iPhone. The officer probably knew she was messing with the wrong people (two college-educated people, one a Vet, the other Active Duty).

We were given a warning about the fake lane-change violation.

If my wife had been alone, the officer probably would have asked to search the car. Wife would have invoked her 4th Amendment right and would have been held there for a couple hours before the K9 could come. Then what about if evidence was planted? When we live in the age of all-too-frequent “roadside vigilantism” (Ahmoud Abery, Trayvon Martin) and outright roadside executions by law enforcement officers (Eric Garner, George Floyd), we have unresolved issues. Electing Obama did not fix the issues on its own merit. Doesn’t even matter if President Trump and his dad engaged in redlining in the 1970s (the subprime mortgage market that Alan Greenspan so vigorously promoted in the 1990s is a form of redlining). We need to fix race relations. Maybe people need to marry to people of different ethnicities, races, national origins, and religions. Whatever the answer, we can do better.

Know your rights.