When 15-year veteran of the San Francisco police force Lorenzo Adamson was pulled over by some of his fellow law enforcement officials in the Bayview area, it is certain that he didn’t think that the routine traffic stop would end with accusations of resisting arrest – and with Lorenzo in handcuffs, trying to fight off his colleagues. What Lorenzo now believably claims is that he was the victim of racial profiling, perpetrated by the institution he has worked with for a decade and a half. Needless to say, San Francisco Police Sergeant Dennis Toomey refuses to comment, fearing a lawsuit.
Adamson was pulled over at about 8:30PM for having illegally tinted windows and for neglecting to display a license plate – two minor infractions that normally lead to a no contest plea in court and a small fine. But, when the officers approached Adamson, who is on disability leave due to a back injury, they didn’t ask him for his driver’s license, his insurance, or his registration. Instead, the first question out of their mouths was, “Are you on parole or probation?” Adamson believes that this is because it is legal to search an individual’s car without a warrant if that person is on probation or on parole. Adamson, obviously, is neither. But he does happen to be African American. And he knows better than anyone how a stop like this should have gone down.
What does the San Francisco police department have to say? They claim that this was the work of two green rookie cops who were too eager to follow the rules. A second point: they simply didn’t recognize Adamson. This incident just goes to show that racial profiling remains a serious problem in the Bay area, even for policemen.