Ohio Cop Pulls Over Black Man Who ‘Made Direct Eye Contact’ With Him
“It’s just awareness that this stuff still happens in 2015.”
Earlier this month, a police officer in Dayton, Ohio, tailed a man by the name of John Felton for two miles, then pulled him over for failing to use a turn signal 100 feet prior to making his turn. To be clear: Felton used a turn signal, but he apparently didn’t put it on early enough.
Only after handing over a written warning did the officer acknowledge the real reason he’d pulled over Felton, a black man who was driving a car with out-of-state plates: He had “made direct eye contact” with the officer.
The Dayton Police Department confirmed the incident in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post on Friday, and acknowledged that “making direct eye contact with an officer” is not a legitimate reason to be stopped.
“The Dayton Police Department is a true partner in the community and enjoys a positive community-police relationship,” the statement said. “The Dayton Police Department is in contact with Mr. Felton. He has agreed to a conversation with the officer, facilitated by the Dayton Mediation Center. This will allow Mr. Felton and the Officer to discuss the specifics of the incident.”
Felton captured the absurd interaction on camera, then shared the video on Facebook page.
“This is why I hate coming to Dayton,” he wrote in the caption. “He had no grounds for following/trailing me other than seeing an Infiniti with Michigan plates. His reason? ‘I gave him direct eye contact while passing him.'”
Watch Felton’s video, which contains adult language, below.
After a bit of back and forth, Felton tells the officer he’s using his cell phone to record the conversation and insists he had used his turn signal.
“You did signal,” the officer clarifies. “You just didn’t do it 100 feet prior to your turn.”
“You just needed a reason to pull me over, sir,” Felton responds, handing over his license and registration. “Is there a reason you pulled me over other than that?”
“Jesus Christ, this is so childish,” he adds, speaking to himself.
The officer walks away, then returns a short time later with a written warning for the infraction.
“No disrespect, I don’t have anything against police officers,” Felton tells the officer, “but all the shit that’s going on now, that’s some scary shit to have a police officer just trailing you. … Why were you trailing me?”
“Because you made direct eye contact with me and held onto it while I was passing you,” he replies. “If you want to keep talking about it, I’ll just give you a citation for the violation and we can take it to court. I’m not going to argue about it anymore.”
In an interview with Dayton TV station ABC 22/FOX 45, Felton, who lives in Detroit, said he felt targeted as soon as he saw the officer’s car.
“I have a nice car, I don’t know if he’d seen me as a black male, but I feel like I was targeted. Being a Michigan car and it was about 11 at night,” he said. “I’m not your stereotypical black male that a lot of people have in mind. It’s just awareness that this stuff still happens in 2015.”