Breaking Brown

July 6, 2015

Professor Receives Citation After Officer Said He Appeared “Nervous” at Stop Light

Professor Receives Citation After Officer Said He Appeared “Nervous” at Stop Light

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.




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20 thoughts on “Professor Receives Citation After Officer Said He Appeared “Nervous” at Stop Light

  1. Rick Manigault says:

    I don’t get this story. He wasn’t at the location as evidenced by his government tracking devises. Cops don’t look up and see the car being investigated took off. That part is an absolute lie.

    His license is suspended for tickets in another state? The professor being held to the same standards as a young black man, he has no business behind the wheel at ALL. 

    This cop had to meet his quota and made up an infraction. I see a promotion in his future.

  2. twiz123 says:

    Rick Manigault Now wait a second Rick…first…you are automatically assuming that this professor operates at some higher moral standard than the officer.  Thats not really fair.  Yes, you can google “bad cop” or “officer indicted” and get lots of hits; however, do the same except replace cop with professor and you’ll see much of the same.  So its thoroughly unfair to assume the worst of the officer here.  

    In fact more and more it seems as though now if you belong to a minority, you are somehow immediately guilty from the right wing conservatives and immediately innocent from the left wing liberals.  All we know here for sure is that a car registered to someone with an expired license was issued a citation.  The officer says he saw the individual in the car….the driver says that’s untrue.  The driver claims he has proof that he was home…so let the guy have his day in court to prove he was not driving the vehicle.  For all we know the cop has dash cam video showing him in the car…the article doesn’t even cover whether the police have their own evidence or not.  

    So…lets be fair…yes there are many bad cops…but there are also many good cops…and then like every other profession…there are probably a lot of other cops that fall somewhere in the middle of really good and really bad.  As such it is equally as likely that this is a bad professor and a good cop situation as it is a good professor and a bad cop situation.  The only actual fact put forth in this article is against the professor who was issued some type of a citation prior to this and failed to adequately resolve the citation. which lead to the suspension of his license.  So really this article fails on all accounts due to lack of information, but given the limited info…I have no reason to doubt the officer and at least one reason to doubt the professor.

  3. Rick Manigault says:

    twiz123 The police in the US are not to be trusted without video taped evidence. Constant systematic lying breeds disbelief. Please read the full article from the link cited.

    The cops side of the story sounds absurd on its face. The cops get the benefit of the doubt in everyday life so I see no need to side with known liars.

  4. Shalove2 says:

    twiz123 Rick Manigault yes there is a reason to doubt the officer it’s called “testilying”. It is something that police officers do during trials. Like saying they observed the suspect handing someone something from a city black away without the use of telescopic device. Or reporting that someone “looked guilty” or “nervous” when no such “look” exists.

  5. DanteHazeLewis says:

    U sound ridiculous. This site isn’t made for maybe and buts. Simply injustice.
    The cop said the guy looked nervous. And that warranted further investigation.
    Where is your freedom if you become a suspect for not paying enough attention to an (oppression) officer.

  6. Shalove2 says:

    DanteHazeLewis yet he was so negligent he allowed the person to drive away without confronting them, Spare me your silly pro cop bull.

  7. twiz123 says:

    DanteHazeLewis Well his freedom wasn’t infringed upon…his revoked license was.  Had he not been issues a citation that he then failed to pay, he would have had a valid license and then this story would never have been written.  Instead he appears to have broken a law, then flaunted the law by not paying or fighting he ticket then he may or may not have driven a vehicle with an expired license.  

    I love how all of you basically have the same argument….all cops are liars and and all citizens tell the truth 100% of the time.  That’s why 99% of all incarcerated prisoners are innocent, right?  Get real.  This guy will have his day in court…unless of course he once again blows off showing up for court nor paying the fine and doubles down on his stupidity once again.  Of course I am sure you will claim (despite any information in this story about it) that the first ticket was also trumped up charges.  You people live in la la land.

  8. twiz123 says:

    Rick Manigault twiz123 I read the article and its spot on.  Its a matter for the court system.  Either the cop can prove he was in the car or he can’t and the matter is done.  I fail to see what the big deal is about.  I am absolutely nervous around police when I know I am doing something wrong like an expired license plate or a broken taillight.  I avoid them at all costs and I probably too look suspicious.  So the cops story is plausible…not necessarily true but plausible.  The professors story also is plausible…not necessarily true but plausible.  It sounds like the professor has proof and a witness…good for him…he will likely have the citation dismissed.  So where’s the story here?  We pay police to drive around and issue citations.  Why do we assume all cops are bad and all cops are liars…especially if they happen to pull over or issue a citation to a columnist or a celebrity?  Its bogus they should go through the same process we have to go to when issues a citation…go to court and fight the ticket if its wrong.  Don’t whine about it on the pages of the Boston Globe.

  9. Rick Manigault says:

    You don’t even have an opinion about this story. Address how stupid the cops story is or you have nothing to add.

  10. Telliacnaxor says:

    I am a 60 year old Black female.  When I was 21 years old and pregnant with my 2nd child in Baltimore, I was stopped by the police for putting a letter in the mailbox.  I pulled up to the mailbox, put my flashers on, hauled my 1 month away from delivery body out of the car, stepped up on the curb, put the letter in the mailbox and got back in the vehicle; all within less than 30 seconds. 

    This white cop pulled me over, (I handed him my license and registration and insurance card through a window that lowered just enough to pass my information through) and he appeared pissed because I had put a letter in the mail with NO TRAFFIC behind me, and he gave me a ticket for impeding traffic! (What traffic?)  He yelled at me, (through the window of course) that I could not stop there. I looked at him and waited for the ticket. Took it from him and met him in court.

    When I got to court, I had already delivered my baby and I told the judge what happened.  The judge looked at the cop, looked at me and threw the case out because the cop was ATTEMPTING to intimidate me, the judge had a few choice words for him.  Oh, did I fail to mention that I mailed in a copy of my ticket with a letter REQUESTING a hearing?  Yeah, I did.

    This happened to me 39 years ago.  White cops did not JUST start harassing Black drivers, they’ve been trying to intimidate Black folks for years. And it’s all ILLEGAL.  I am not surprised by this story.  Re-read what the article said.  The man PAID for the ticket.  He was AT HOME all that day.  His GPS can prove that, perhaps his wife was driving the car that was REGISTERED in his name and because his face appeared in the computer, the cop THOUGHT he was the person driving the vehicle, after all we all look alike to them anyways right?  Anyway, the man needs to go to court and PROVE that he was not driving that day. 

    End of story.

  11. twiz123 says:

    Rick Manigault Clearly you have read nothing I have types as I have an opinion and it was crystal clear.  My opinion is this is just another whiney “celebrity” using their position to complain about stuff the rest of us have to deal with on a regular basis and he is looking for a quick and easy way out based on who he is.  This story is a non-story…that’s my opinion. Hopefully I have now clarified my opinion for you.

  12. Rick Manigault says:

    crystal clear

  13. twiz123 says:

    Telliacnaxor That is terrible and I am sorry to hear that you were treated that way.  I have had my fair share of run ins with bad police officers and almost got arrested for doing nothing more than the right thing.  That being said I give every officer the same benefit of the doubt that I give every suspect accused of a crime.  The cards are certainly stacked in the favor of the police, but I would like to think that if enough complaints are lodged against the bad cops they will fire them…well maybe not in every city, but at least in liberal and progressive cities like Boston, which is where this story happened.

  14. JoshuaThompsonSr says:

    The question is who doesnt get nervous when they see cops white or black…You check your speed etc..Plus when they pull u over the lights and sounds..(new tones)…Would spoke anyone even knowing their not going to jail…

  15. Rick Manigault says:

    Or progressives cities like Nyc where you get you’re neck broken by a cop who already has lawsuits for neck breaking.

  16. twiz123 says:

    Rick Manigault True that but seriously if you can’t get justice in New York or Boston…where can you get justice?

  17. twiz123 says:

    JoshuaThompsonSr Everyone does…well everyone but politicians, the ultra wealthy (who are often one in the same) and of course the cops.  I wish we could afford body cams for every officer but here in Memphis we can barely afford cops much less cameras for them.  Well eventually costs will come down and maybe then we’ll see some accountability.

  18. IrisMarieBlanchard says:


    If he was not the one driving the car and can prove he was at work at the time of the alleged offense, how is he breaking the law and flaunting it… Your logic doesn’t make sense.  Please re-read the article.. Take notes.

  19. ErinEvans says:

    The underlying issue is if he had enough evidence to issue a citation… I hope for all of us this gets thrown out in court

  20. hernanday1 says:

    It is very smple black folks, don’t fight don’t argue, take the ticket, challenge it in court, file a complaint.  If he harasses 30 black folks and all go to court and file complaints, he will never get promoted.  It is because blacks let that type of behaviour slide why they do it.  Don’t let it go, file human rights suits.

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