An Emerson College professor is fighting a criminal citation stemming from an officer’s observation that he appeared nervous at a traffic stop where he was driving without a license.
Jabari Asim, editor of the NAACP’s “The Crisis” magazine, says he wasn’t driving on the day in question and his phone’s GPS proves he was at work all day. According to Asim, his wife was running errands on that day.
The officer who wrote the citation, however, claims he did in fact see Asim at a red light at 6:15 on June 22 and became suspicious of Asim as he appeared “nervous.”
“My attention was drawn to the vehicle as the operator upon observing me immediately looked nervous and quickly turned his head forward and continued driving,” the report says, according to The Boston Globe.
The officer then claims he ran Asim’s plates and his license came up “denied/non-renewable.” The officer says he recognized Asim from his RMV photo, taken when Asim applied for a Massachusetts license, but when the officer looked up after running the plates, the car was gone. The officer then sent out a citation.
Asim had been denied a license in 2014 due to an unpaid ticket in another state that has since been paid. Asim says his license was denied and he had not re-applied since he’d not been driving and wasn’t driving on the day in question.
NAACP activists wonder why the officer ran his plates for appearing nervous in the first place.
“I’d like to see what that looks like, when somebody says I look nervous when I don’t look at you,” said the Urban League’s Darnell Williams. “What I would say as a civil rights leader is that if this is the new standard that they are using for vehicle stops and citations, then we need to have a deeper conversation with those officers, because this is something that’s indefensible from my standpoint.”
A clerk magistrate will make the final determination on whether the charge is warranted.