The Tyranny of a Traffic Ticket
August 5, 2016

“When Philando Castile was pulled over in July, it was at least his 46th traffic stop — almost all related to fairly minor traffic violations. And it would be his last.

“By the end of the stop — reportedly in part over a broken taillight — a police officer, apparently scared that Castile was grabbing for a gun, shot and killed the 32-year-old. Castile’s girlfriend then live-streamed the immediate aftermath on Facebook, calmly retelling the story of how a minor traffic stop for a low-level offense turned into a death sentence.

“Castile’s story isn’t unique. Eric Garner, Samuel DuBose, Sandra Bland — these are just a few of the victims of police and the criminal justice system over the past several years, but they all fall into the same basic framework: A routine stop or arrest for a low-level offense went horribly wrong, leaving someone dead after they were accused of a misdemeanor or crime that typically doesn’t even involve prison time.”

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