Local News

Person Groups Claim Law Officers Target Black Drivers

Posted June 24, 1999

— There is another accusation that police are unfairly targeting African-American motorists. This time, black leaders in Person County are pointing the finger at law enforcement.

Law officers in Roxboro and Person County now have more than traffic direction and crowd control to think about.

LocalNAACPleaders and the Person County Committee on the Affairs of Black Citizens say officers and deputies are targeting African American drivers for what black leaders say are unnecessary stops and searches for weapons and drugs.

"I've never really felt that I've been unfairly pulled over, but I'm not saying there may not be anything to what the rumor is saying," said Pecolia Beatty.

Along with being a member of the NAACP, Beatty has attended meetings of the Person County Committee on the Affairs of Black Citizens.

She says the accusations are worth investigating.

"I think that it is not just here. I think that is something that is being looked into all over the United States in light of situations that have happened in the metropolitan areas. Small towns are not immune from the same thing," said Beatty.

Sheriff Dennis Oakley says he and Police Chief Terry Hill met with black leaders and discussed their concerns. The Sheriff has just formed a human relations committee.

"It has four people, two females and two males. It's comprised of two blacks and two whites. They will meet once a month to air the differences of opinions or the grievances that someone might have," said Oakley.

Along with the new committee, the Sheriff says he is trying to get video cameras in patrol cars and microphones on deputies to document all traffic stops.

Black leaders say they are pleased the Sheriff is working on it, but they say they are watching and waiting for results.

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