An Illinois congressman said he was a victim of racial profiling when police gave him a traffic ticket alleging he swerved over the center line.
Rep. Danny Davis, who is black, said he will go to traffic court to challenge the $75 ticket given to him early Monday by two white officers.
“I’m not one of these people who cry racism,” Davis told The Associated Press on Friday. “I’m a person who believes in hard work and follows the rules.”
Davis, 66, said he was on his way home from co-hosting his Sunday late-night radio talk show, “Talking to the People,” and was driving with three black passengers when he was stopped.
“I know that I had not weaved. I mean, I’m not senile,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “Had I weaved, I would have said ’I thought I saw a pothole,’ or a snake, or something.”
Interim Police Supt. Dana Starks said in a statement Thursday that the department “does not encourage, tolerate or condone racial profiling on any level.” He said Davis “was stopped on probable cause and issued a citation for violating a traffic law.”
“We assure the congressman that any allegations of racial profiling will be thoroughly investigated and the Chicago Police Department remains committed to enforcing the law fairly and without bias,” Starks said.
Davis said he is pleased with Starks’ statement and has been interviewed by an investigator from the office that looks into misconduct in the police department. He will challenge the ticket Dec. 28 in traffic court, he said, but he is not seeking a reprimand of the officers.
In 2005, state Sen. James Meeks, a popular black minister, accused police of racial profiling after a white Chicago police officer stuck a gun in his face and repeatedly shouted at him to get back in his car during a traffic stop.
State lawmakers are gathering data to try to determine whether there is a pattern of racial profiling in traffic stops.
A report released earlier this year by the Illinois Department of Transportation found that police throughout Illinois stop minority drivers for traffic violations in larger percentages than driver population numbers would suggest, and minorities were much more likely to be searched than whites.