PLBC statement on police incident in Lower Merion

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has released a statement on a police incident in Lower Merion Township.

“A disturbing video showing Lower Merion police pulling over a Black female motorist has surfaced and is being investigated by the department. The police interaction with the woman is disturbing but unfortunately not rare. Pulled over in a customer parking lot, the driver is heard asking for a supervisor before exiting the car. The situation quickly escalates, and she is dragged from the car at gunpoint, tased, handcuffed on the ground with her shirt over her head and taken to a waiting police vehicle with her upper body exposed.

“The PLBC has been working on legislation to curb police violence during traffic stops, such as reducing pretextual traffic stops and tracking racial profiling and related disparities. Black drivers are more likely to be asked to step out of the car, more likely to have their car searched, more likely to be given a citation or violation, more likely to be detained and, unfortunately, more likely to have a violent encounter with the police as seen in this video.

“We have for years been calling for training and diversity in departments so the officers who patrol the streets look more like the residents who live there, shoring up better police community relations and a sense of protection by police rather than harassment.

“We have for years been working to hold law enforcement accountable through programs like the Pennsylvania State Police database which details demographic information on motorists stopped across the commonwealth. Compiling this information can help create policies in state and local police departments that connect the police to communities rather than creating a divide between them and residents.

“This woman’s humanity and rights were disregarded. She was physically abused by these men and the system that has for years abused Black and brown folks across this commonwealth. We stand with her and every victim of police violence and will continue our work on police reform in the upcoming legislative session.”