Driving While Black On Interstate I-16 in Georgia

Looking through old yahoo emails and came across an account I had of being profiled when ‪#‎drivingwhileblack‬ when I lived in Savannah. It’s scary to think that the same events that lead to ‪#‎SandraBlands‬ unlawful arrest and untimely death was the same manor in which I was treated. I remember asking the officer who was white why I had to get out of my car for a speeding violation and him ignoring me. He kept ignoring me. I asked was he going to shoot me and he responded are you going to give me a reason? I thought I would die on some back rd in Georgia, but I’m alive and able to share this story and I wrote a poem about it ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬.

On Monday, February 6, 2006 6:00 PM, Gracie Berry <gulukspy99@yahoo.com> wrote:
At approximately 4:15pm, on Monday February 6, 2006 I was traveling to Savannah, GA on Interstate I-16 from Atlanta, GA. I spent the weekend in Atlanta searching checking out employment oppurtunities, and life in Atlanta, GA. I began my journey to Atlanta, GA, on Friday February 3, 2006. While traveling on I-16 to Savannah, GA a cop followed me without any lights for approximately 15-20 seconds. He finally put the vehicle lights on and I immediately pulled over on the left side of the road. I pulled over on the left side of the road because I was not aware that he wanted to stop me. As I put my car in Park officers Sewyer, badge number 982 stepped out of his vehicle, told me to pull of the road atleast. I pulled over more to the left, and he told me tp put my car in park. He commenced to peer in my vehicle as if looking for something. He said I waas going 91 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone. Prier to officer Sewyer pulling me over I had music on loud, andwas traveling to Savannah, GA. I was not aware of the decrease in speed of 21 miles per hour over the speed limit. I quickly told him honestly that I did not realize I was going 21 miles per hour over the speed limit. He stated thats what alot of people say. He commenced to ask me a series of questions inlcuding questions about my drivers license, the year and make of my vehicle, and where I was traveling from. I was not sure why he asked me several questions. Instead of taking my drivers license to his vehicle and checking for validity he told me to step out of my car.
Upon him demanding me to get out of my vehicle I remained calm, and orderly. I immediately became physically and verbally defensive by placing my hands in my pocket for comfort, and asking why do I have to get out of my vehicle. He did not choose to answer the question I asked. I wondered in my mind if I was being pulled over for a speeding violation why would I need to step out of my vehicle. He commenced to tell me to follow him to the back of my vehicle. I thought that something was wrong with my vehicle by the paculiar tone in which he coaxed me. As I followed him to the rear of my vehicle he asked me what was I doing? I had my wallet in my hand, and was trying to find my insurance card. I then put my wallet in one hand, and my other hand in my pocket for comfort. He asked me to take my hand out of my pocket, and I did immediately. He said what are you trying to hide. I said nothing, and that I did not feel comfortabale with what was happening. I asked him again why I had to get out of my vehicle. He refused to answer my question. He commenced to tell me to put my hand on the vehicle after I complied with removing my hand from my pocket. I stated that I was very scared, and for him to explain what is going on. He refused to tell me what was going on. At this point I was not calm and I began to cry, and I told him that I was very scared. He asked me if I was going to comply and I said no because I already complied with what he asked of me. He grabbed my arm firmly and commenced to put hand cuffs on me stating that he needed to check what was in my pockets.

Gracie “Thee Amazing Grace” Berry

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