Posted: 11:00 pm Friday, May 16th, 2014

A follow-up to Dr. Rad’s account of ‘driving while black’ 

By Jim Galloway

A few days ago, we mentioned the experience recounted by Branko Radulovacki, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, of his encounter with a law enforcement officer while driving with an aide. His apparent crime, “Dr. Rad” said, was “driving while black.” Here’s what Radulovacki told his supporters:

“That phrase — “driving while black” — had come up at our children’s high school as part of a discussion of racism. Honestly, as a white male, I didn’t take it seriously. But I do now.

The officer asked us both for driver’s licenses — even though I wasn’t driving. He pulled Elliott [Smith] out of the car for a breathalyzer — which read .00, as he told the officer it would. When the policeman ran Elliott’s license, he told us it was suspended. Elliott produced paperwork proving that was incorrect. The police officer took his license anyway….

We spent the rest of the drive home talking about race relations and what it’s like to be a person of color in the South. In minority communities, there is profound distrust of a system that permits an officer to confiscate the ID required to vote just before it’s needed — especially if the “violation” isn’t one.”

On Friday, we received an email from Brittiny Barber Johnson, a media relations specialist from Georgia College in Milledgeville, who saw the mention and wanted to provide a detailed, chronological account of what happened.

From her email:

• County law enforcement unit noticed Mr. Smith driving a car without headlights illuminated and flashed his lights to alert Smith.

• Georgia College officer in vicinity noted Smith did not react to flashed lights by illuminating his headlights. A GC officer decided to institute a traffic stop.

• Traffic stop commences with GC officer explaining to Smith that he was pulled over for driving at night without headlights.

• Smith acknowledged he was driving without headlights because he was unfamiliar with the car.

• The GC officer asked for Smith’s driver’s license which was then reported as suspended.

• The officer returned to the Smith vehicle and asked Smith to exit the car. \

• The officer informed Smith that his license was reported as suspended, at which point Smith said he had documentation that proved his license was valid. The officer noted that he was compelled to take action on the information he received about the suspended license.

• The GC officer asked Smith if he had had any alcoholic beverages that night. Smith replied he had not, and the officer asked Smith if he would submit to a Breathalyzer test. Smith complied and he passed the test.

• The officer explained that Smith would not be able to drive the car and asked if his passenger had a valid driver’s license. Smith replied that he did.

• The officer approached the passenger side of the vehicle and asked the occupant if he had his license. The occupant handed the license to the officer who confirmed it was valid.

• The GC officer at this point explained to Smith that he would receive a citation for driving with a suspended license and that the officer would need to retain the license.

• The officer stepped away from the vehicle, wrote the citation and returned to the car.

• The GC officer explained the reason for the citation, noted the court date, informed Mr. Smith that if he indeed had documentation that reinstated his license, he should bring that paperwork to court with him.

• The officer apologized for the inconvenience of the stop and wished the occupants of the vehicle a safe trip home and bid them goodnight.

Ms. Barber informs us that video of the stop exists, but isn’t sure when it might be available. We haven’t had a chance to ask Dr. Rad about this development, but expect to see him Saturday morning.

37 comments
Point
Point

Since when did campus police gain that kind of authority?

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

White Duke lacrosse players were treated crappy by a black prostitute and the media to include the AJC so give us a break about being racists against blacks.  Heck, live in Fulton County to see black-on-white racism - it happens all the time here.


Surprised to see Jimmie not saying anything about the VA garbage going on under Obama - Jimmie boy really ripped into Bushie Jr, when the Walter Reed crap came out.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

"Smith acknowledged he was driving without headlights because he was unfamiliar with the car."

Typical democrat - unfamiliar with a car just like being unfamiliar with running for a state political office.  Pretty simple even for a liberal - do not start driving until you are somewhat familiar with the car.

EGray9
EGray9

The omission of what time the stop was initiated is important. Driving at dusk without headlights rarely results in a stop, and the officer would need probable cause to initiate a breathalyzer (and it appears no such cause existed). Plus, the license was surrendered, despite prima facie evidence that it was valid. If the guy can't vote, then it's an even bigger screw up. 


MidGaRetiree
MidGaRetiree

Thank you Mr. Galloway for presenting the "other side" of the story.  At least those readers that didn't automatically form their opinion based on Dr. Rad's version now have another side to consider. 

td1234
td1234

What is the problem? From the account provided, it seems the officer did everything by the book, was extremely polite and professional and did his/her job. 

zekeI
zekeI

So, what is the problem? From the written account it seems quite normal! Could it be a perceived problem by the occupants of the car? 

Driving without the lights on at dusk or at night IS A SERIOUS VIOLATION!  I drive a lot of miles and almost every day I see someone doing that. I will flash my lights to get their attention, and, maybe 9 ot of 10 times or more, THEY JUST IGNORE ME AND KEEP DRIVING WITHOUT LIGHTS! They should be stopped and charged with reckless driving!

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

Ah... what time of "night?"  Why was a breathalyzer ran?  What led the officer to run the breathalyzer test; what "evidence" did he observe?  I've been stopped numerous times; I've NEVER had a breathalyzer test ran on me.  


Now, police officers stop cars all the time.  Most "drug stops" aren't drug stops.  They're tail light out, high beam on, etc, etc, etc  The police cannot make arbitrary stops so they look for ANYTHING wrong so they can examine the occupants. Now if you don't like "driving while black," call it "I can pull you over for anything while driving."


As for the keeping the license, I'll bet "the good ole boy" kept it to cover his rear end once he saw there were no drugs involved.  Cops can't get in trouble for following orders of those higher, and the computer "said" the license was void.

Crankshaft
Crankshaft

For those of you who don't believe in the "driving while black" experience just read about the Judge Jack Camp who was sexually involved with a stripper.  However, the fact that she was a stripper and a drug user didn't bother him; that she once had a black live-in boyfriend infuriated him to no end.  I'm convinced that there are people out there like him that feel that there is no higher calling than to attempt to humiliate and put as many minorities in their place as possible.

DS
DS

Well, that's different. Let's hear what Radulovacki says about this version. If he sticks with his story, let's see the video.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

So, is it alright for white folks to drive without headlights and complain if a black officer stops them?

Leaving out the critical details in order to play the race card makes Dr. Rad just another lying liberal.  At least this liberal blog set the record straight instead of ignoring the missing details..

mar1049
mar1049

So a media person from this officer's work place provides a detailed summary of events. That's interesting. It is a known fact Georgia has always had problems with listing wrong information about drivers licenses and insurances. Probably why the aide had that paper work because he knows what can and did happen. You do know the place he probably got the documentation (Georgia DDS) told him to carry the documentation in case he gets stop. Such a detailed summary. However it would have been nice to put the time of the initial stop. That would answer exactly how dark it was. Out of county tags? Middle Georgia? A black guy and a white guy in a car? BTW the officer probably knew who they were when he stopped them. You think he did not run their tag before approaching the vehicle. Also I have looked for years for an actual race card. People always get accused of using them. I always ask black people to show me theirs but no one seems to know what they look like. Where is one located?

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

Radulovacki is PRBAD - politician running behind and desperate.

fatleo
fatleo

Both DWB and DWH (Driving While Hispanic) do exist and to say otherwise is just plain stupid.  Some "officers of the law" will manufacture the excuse to pull a driver.  No surprise here.  If you wish to believe otherwise you are living in another world and need help.  Reality of today's world - racism and bigoted people wear uniforms.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Was it dark? You don't have to have your lights on until 30 minutes after sunset (or it used to be)...and if some body, including a policeman had flashed their lights at me I don't know if my immediate reaction would have been to turn on my lights, particularly if I thought they already were. And if the guy produced the paperwork on the spot, why did the cop end up requiring him to come back to court. 'Played the race card'? You telling me 'the officer' would have done the same thing to a couple of white guys? You sure? I damn sure wouldn't want to go through life in South Georgia 'while black', and I was born there.

Mustang100
Mustang100

Another 'victim' throwing the greasy, worn out, crumpled up race card.

Crankshaft
Crankshaft

@Point

The GC officer asked Smith if he had had any alcoholic beverages that night.


And just what made him think that Mr. Smith had had any alcoholic beverages that night?  Did he look like a white teen suffering from affluenza?


A Smyrna police officer asked to see my license when I was a passenger in a car that had a burned out light over the rear license plate.  I guess that was a danger to the public also.

Bruce Wayne
Bruce Wayne

@MiltonMan  

Of-course, anyone is capable of racism, especially if they are among the thousands of disenfranchised, marginalized, working poor minorities in fulton. Shame on them.

Or perhaps, shame on an officer, who should know better, and who has a higher moral obligation. Also, this is someone whos actions have repercussions on someones life, their right to vote, ect. Sometimes as an officer of the law/ public servant, you have to make a call...."is this really worth it ?" Is this really justice, or is this just some heavy handed form of profiling? Specifically the alcohol test...


Believe me ! You turn over enough rocks, and anybody will have something to be nailed for. None of us are squeaky clean here. The question is, when is it appropriate to do so at your own discretion as a public servant in the name of the law.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@MiltonMan  

Typical democrat - unfamiliar with a car just like being unfamiliar with running for a state political office. 

Typical myrmidon - unfamiliar with computer coding and can't turn off the italics. Pretty simple even for a myrmidon - do not start posting until you are familiar with a computer.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@EGray9  

If the guy can't vote, then it's an even bigger screw up.

That's not a bug, it's a feature.

honested
honested

@td1234  

What prevented the officer from stopping them and 'by the book' saying,"Hey, your headlights are off.

I have sense enough to know you just spoke here and that may be a rental, so I wanted to inform you, have a nice evening"'?

anothercomment
anothercomment

@zekeI That is reason to buy a luxury import, the lights turn on automatically when you get in the vehicle and you do not have to worry about them.

honested
honested

@zekeI  

As a campus cop, he probably was looking forward becoming a local our county cop, so I see why you believe he needed to get a head start on absorbing Standard Operating Procedure.

td1234
td1234

@OldPhysicsTeacher  I do not drink but have been given a couple breathalyzer test and even had to get out of my car and walk a straight line. Inconvenient yes but not that big a deal. Would have been a big deal if I had a chip on my shoulder or saw everything in terms of color.  

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@The_Centrist "So, is it alright for white folks to drive without headlights and complain if a black officer stops them?"

We would expect no less of you, since you whine and complain about your victimhood everyday.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

And anyone who automatically believes the comments from the officer via a media relations specialist, is a fool.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@Mustang100At worst, this could be just about grabbing attention through old-fashioned speech absent the ability to let money do the talking. And, if so, and the allegation is indeed unfounded as you suggest, how is that more reprehensible than the deceptions that are assaulting us from the ads?

anothercomment
anothercomment

@Crankshaft @Point The Smyrna Magistrate calls his court openly the revenue court. He says, I tell you what it is. If you come to court, he lets you pay the fine without points. He will not allow anyone under 21 to plead guilty to certain driving offenses without their parents in the courtroom. As he says, it will adversely affect your parents insurance rate, and they will not be to happy.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@honested @td1234 

Many people driving without headlights after dark have been drinking.  It's a good way to get stopped anywhere.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@NorthAtlanta

Quite sad.

I am so so saddy saddy sad sad sad that you haz the sadz.

Shall we hold a pity party for you and your sadz?

Abilify.

Just suggestin'.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@Kamchak  

Oh, and it's a shame your social life is very obviously so lacking that you spend more time on these blogs than pretty much anybody else.  Quite sad.  But hey, it's your job, such as it is.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@Kamchak @NorthAtlanta 

The ability to "back" something up is a moot point, sport.  I simply don't have to do it to suit you.  It's not complicated.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@NorthAtlanta

Who appointed you the arbiter of requiring people to provide "proof", sport? 

(shrug)

I merely asked you if you had proof, if you sense any sort of requirement, that's on you.

You can either back up what comes out of that pie-hole, or you cant.

It's not complicated.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

@Kamchak @NorthAtlantaGot anything new?  Who appointed you the arbiter of requiring people to provide "proof", sport?  Common sense obviously isn't your forte.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@NorthAtlanta

Many people driving without headlights after dark have been drinking.

Got proof?