Black Man Pulled Over for Making 'Direct Eye Contact' with Officer | Sojourners

Black Man Pulled Over for Making 'Direct Eye Contact' with Officer

Image from Shutterstock / Kozorez Vladislav

Less than two months since Sandra Bland was pulled over for failing to signal, Michigan resident John Felton was pulled over for failing to signal more than 100 feet from the location of the turn. In a moment of candor, the police officer admits he actually followed and pulled Felton over because he "made direct eye contact" with the officer.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, picked up over the weekend by major news outlets, Felton starts recording the conversation when he first encounters the police officer. When the officer explains why he’s being pulled over, the viewer can hear the incredulous Felton, “You just needed a reason to pull me over, sir.”

When the police officer returns to Felton’s car after processing his information, the driver opens up about what it’s like to be followed by police as a black man today.

“Like no disrespect, I have nothing against police officers but all this s--t that’s going on now, that’s some scary s--t. To have a police officer just trailing you … do you know how that looks?,” he says.

The officer responds, “Because you made direct eye contact with me and held onto it while I was passing you.”

After a summer of heightened tensions surrounding black criminalization, this rare moment of candor highlights the implicit bias some police officers use to pull over people of color.

Watch the full video below (warning: this video contains language):

Editor's note (Nov. 23, 2020): This video has been removed from Facebook by the owner.