A Stockton man says that he was racially profiled by a Stockton police officer in the early hours on August 19th as he and a friend were walking a dog in the village of Stockton.
In a pair of videos shared to Facebook at 1:30am on August 19th, two men have a series of tense interactions with a Stockton police officer who approached them on the street and later followed them in his vehicle at a slow crawl. The videos were posted by Matthew Love, a 20 year old Stockton man who is Black.
Love says the two men were just going for a walk with their dog. When asked if he thought he was being racially profiled during these interactions, Love responded “Yea of course.”
Racial profiling is illegal; the ACLU notes that the practice violates the equal rights guarantee in the US Constitution. In a 2018 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization’s deputy legal director called racial profiling “pervasive and insidious”, saying “it creates profound distrust between over-policed communities and law enforcement, thereby endangering public safety.”
Love says that the situation began when a Stockton police officer drove in reverse down a street to intercept Love and a friend who were walking Love’s dog. The video footage corroborates this, showing the officer’s car driving in reverse on one of the town’s main roads towards the spot where the two men were standing.
The police officer parked and approached the two men while they were stopped on the sidewalk and tending to their dog. Love asked the officer, “Hey, can you stay in your car please?” “You’re fine,” the officer responded. “I’m just an old man.”
After a tense exchange, Love asked the officer for his name and badge number before walking away.
After bringing the dog home and going back out, the two men encountered the officer again. The video footage uploaded to Facebook shows the officer following the two men in his vehicle at a slow crawl as they walked along a sidewalk. The video shows the officer following the men for 2 minutes and 39 seconds; Love says the officer followed them for 6 minutes before driving away.
The officer was driving so slowly that at one point he pulled over to the shoulder to allow a car headed in the same direction to pass him.
The officer and the two men exchanged words; the officer asked the men where they were going and at one point said “Are you okay with your life?”, while the men yelled back at the officer.
The officer identified himself by name and badge number in the videos; however, The Voice was unable to discern his response with 100% confidence due to audio quality.
The Voice reached out to the Stockton Police Department multiple times with a request for comment and to clarify the identity of the officer; there was no comment by press time.