Black People : We're Only Stopping Black People, Says Cop

Jan 22, 2001
betwixt and between
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Where I sit, every day I am confronted by stories of racism and discrimination.

Alarmed, because I can’t imagine anyone mistaking me for a terrorist, and annoyed because I was so close to the counter and my flight was due soon.

I duly complied with the request and proceeded to ask the lead officer (Donohue 94) why I was pulled from the line and the basis for doing so. He told me it was a routine check. I asked whether it was routine for him to pull the only non-white person from a large queue. His response delivered a sucker punch to my gut. The policeman told me he was only stopping black people. Of course I became livid and decided to make notes of our exchange. At this point the second officer (Roberts #70783) realised what his colleague had said and tried to justify their actions by saying they had just stopped two white people. I had not seen this.

The befuddling officer then said that large numbers of Nigerians were travelling to Northern Ireland and that I fit the profile. (I wonder how many white Nigerians travel between London and Belfast daily?) I’m sure many Jamaicans display strong African features which we are proud of but maybe this was one time I would have preferred being called a Yardie.

I was asked to provide my travel documents including details of my hotel in Belfast. One of the officers insisted that I produce a passport. I refused and showed him my driving licence instead. Because I knew that passports are not required for travel within the UK, I considered this my minor on-the-spot victory.

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