Boots Riley Found Guilty of “Driving While Black”
- Words: Fred Miketa
In any major metropolitan area, racial profiling is about as common as crime that goes undetected. But when long-standing political activist and hip-hop intellectual Boots Riley (of The Coup) is the victim of harassment, you can bet the incident is not going to be swept under the rug. As reported in the SF Bay Guardian, Riley was found guilty of “driving while black”
Over this past Memorial Day weekend, Riley was arriving at a friend’s party in the Dogpatch district of San Francisco when he found himself surrounded by police with guns. According to an interview with Kimberly Chun, Riley stated:
“They were saying, 'Don't fucking move, don't fucking move,' and came straight at me. They put my hands above my head, searched me, and searched my car, even though they were looking for someone who was stealing tires. You know, if they had a description of a light-skinned black man with a big Afro and sideburns, maybe they should have taken me in. But they were yelling, 'Are you on probation? Do you have a warrant?' And every time I said no, they said, 'Don't lie to us. Don't fucking lie to us.'"
According to Riley, they didn’t even check his ID. The rapper’s friend (and resident of the party), Marci Bravo, came outside and witnessed Riley’s release, but insists that “It's just a nasty case of police profiling."
Riley is planning to file a grievance with the city watchdog agency the Office of Citizens Complaints.
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