Record shows that victims of police shootings during traffic stops are more likely to be black or Hispanic, lawmaker says.
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Jul 24, 2017
The provisions tell motorists what to do if they’re pulled over by a police officer. They also provide specific warnings about what not to do, like reaching around in the vehicle or getting out.
The goal is pretty simple, said state Rep. Reginald Bolding, a Laveen Democrat who helped write the section.
It’s designed to keep drivers from getting shot by police.
Bolding, who is black, said the record shows that victims of police shootings during traffic stops are more likely to be black or Hispanic.
“When you look at what’s taken place across the country, you have seen a majority of individuals who are people of color that have had higher incidence of interactions with law-enforcement officers, particularly in shootings,” he said. “Hopefully we can get to a place where that’s not the reality.”
It was one such shooting of a black man — the 2016 killing of Philando Castile by a Minnesota police officer — that prompted Bolding to seek a rewrite of Arizona’s driving manual.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile over because a brake light was out. Castile told the officer he had a firearm on him, to which the officer said, “Don’t reach for it then.” Castile said he wasn’t pulling it out, but the officer fired seven rapid shots into the vehicle, striking Castile five times.
The incident was captured on the dash camera of the patrol car. Prosecutors charged the officer with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety. Yanez, who testified he feared for his life, was acquitted earlier this month.
In the wake of that incident, Bolding said he reached out to eight different police departments, asking them what motorists should do to avoid becoming victims.
“I got eight different recommendations,” he said.