On July 30th, we posted a Letter to the Editor from one of our readers that felt they had been the victim of racial profiling by the SMPD while riding a bicycle here in Sierra Madre. I contacted Chief Diaz, who told me that she hoped the person would contact her directly, and the complaint would be investigated. She said that “Racial profiling is not a practice that we condone here in Sierra Madre.
The letter writer, whose name is Antiq Soul, told me he contacted Chief Diaz, who informed him that to stay impartial during the investigation, she did not want to discuss it, and that Lt. Kirkpatrick would be conducting the investigation. Antiq then met with Lt. Kirkpatrick, after which he told me he was concerned about whether the investigation would be objective.
Despite Antiq’s misgivings after his first meeting with the Lieutenant, I have now received a letter which would seem to indicate that he is now fully satisfied with the investigation. Here it is:
“I just returned from my final meeting with Lieutenant Kirkpatrick and I want to issue a written apology for my wrong account of the night of July 29, 2011.
Upon reviewing the partial video and complete audio of my stop by the Sierra Madre police department, my recollection of the sequence of events were wrong. The officer did indeed state his reason for stopping me was because I did not have a front headlight. After that, did he also stated that he was checking my name for warrants. The officer followed procedure and the facts support it. I do not dispute the ticket which I am responsible for.
Even though racial profiling is a serious problem facing African-American men by law enforcement, it is not my intention to use it wrongly or use it to evade responsibility, it should only be used when the individual believes they have been treated unjustly and then to allow the dialogue between law enforcement and civilian to commence like what happened in my case with your help.
I appreciate you taking my allegation seriously enough to put me in contact with Chief Diaz, who then put me in contact with Lieutenant Kirkpatrick and helped clarify all misunderstandings. This is my attempt to take responsibility for my part and retract my statement of racial profiling on July 29, 2011, 9:44 pm.
Thank you, Bill.
There’s a postscript to this. I contacted Mr. Soul to verify that he had indeed intended his letter for publication, which he had, but in his response he said something I found worth repeating…”What I’ve learned and I think others can too, is, speak up, sometimes law enforcement is wrong, sometimes we are wrong, and neither should be afraid of admitting responsibility. I believe dialogue will help all sides understand their opposite sides.”