21-year-old Carlos Riley Jr. was arrested in Durham, North Carolina in December 2012 for shooting a police officer in the leg. However, the story is much different then the police officer reported. Officer Kelly A. Stewart pulled Riley over the morning of December 18th because he claims he saw Riley smoking marijuana. There was no marijuana in the car so the officer started to become violent. He attacked and began choking Riley from outside the car. He eventually pulled his gun, and accidently shot himself in the leg during the struggle. Riley ran away in fear and later discovered that he was wanted for the shooting. He turned himself in shortly afterwards and has been held in jail since. The two men that came with him to the police station were also arrested unlawfully for being an accessory after the fact.
This kind of treatment of black youth is not uncommon in Durham, where “black suspects are nine times more likely than white suspects to be incarcerated for criminal conduct,” according to an attorney in the city. There is also a controversy due to the fact that Officer Stewart is himself black. However, racial profiling appears to be so ingrained in the city that almost every officer has engaged in it, regardless of his or her own race. There is currently a campaign to release Riley from custody due to a lack of evidence. There is a website along with a petition to help Riley’s case to be dismissed.
Lamont Lily, “N.C Youth Defends Against Police Shooting” Power, July 1, 2013, http://blacksankofa.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/n-c-youth-defends-against-police-shooting/.
Student Researcher: Samantha Cowley (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)