Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lacey Seizure Should Prompt Outrage

Jacob Lacey is over it, but we shouldn't be.

The Indianapolis Colts' second-year cover man said he was driving near Avon at noon when police stopped him, handcuffed him, and searched his vehicle. According to Lacey, his vehicle was surrounded by eight squad cars.

Lacey added that one officer told him he fit the description of a crime suspect, but when police found nothing (or when somebody realized they had a Colts player in cuffs without any probable cause), they left without any apology.

Curiously, neither the Avon PD nor the Hendricks County Sheriff's Office have record of it. Sergeant Linda Jackson with IMPD said "she had not heard" that IMPD was involved. (I am following up to find out for sure).

One of three things can be true: (1) Jacob Lacey is a pathological liar who felt the need to concoct a fantastic story just before a critical football game, knowing the distraction it could create for his team; (2) Lacey got the wrong police department (maybe IMPD was wrong or it was the Indiana State Police); or (3) a lot of law enforcement officers are engaged in a cover up in Hendricks County because they all realized they'd walked in it big time.

I'm opting for two or three, and while I applaud Lacey for not wanting to literally make a federal case out of this, somebody needs to investigate this further. But for the fact Lacey has the media's ear, nobody would blink on a story like this, and too many would assume the black person pulled over in the white suburb MUST have done something wrong.

We need to know what crime report police were allegedly responding to in their investigation, and if it comes back as just "black male," it will tell you why we still have two systems of justice in this country.

Sadly, "driving while black" isn't anything new; it's expected, and that's the most distressing part of the this story. The reason Lacy has already moved on? In his words, "it's not my first go-round."

Maybe not, but it should be his last.



Paul K. Ogden said...

I've reported on a similiar thing that happened to my niece. She was, white, driving in a black neighborhood, around 30th and Martin Luther King. She got pulled over ... no allegation she did anything wrong driving. He asked why she was in that neighborhood and suggested she must have been there to buy drugs. The IMPD cop took her out of the car and handcuffed at the back of the vehicle. Then he searched the vehcile, found nothing, and let her go. Apparently the term "probable cause" is lost on that police officer.

When my niece filed a complaint, the officer claimed he had not handcuffed my niece. I saw the handcuff marks on her wrists.

What happened to Lacey sounds plenty fishy. He was black driving in a white neighborhood. If people don't think there's somethign called driving while black, go to the Carmel City Court on Monday morning and watch the parade of brown and black-skinned defendants who have been given tickets in that city.

Unknown said...

If anybody's going to make an issue out of it, then they need to go full tilt. I'm not buying.

I'm sure it happens. I'm also sure it happens a fraction as much as the hundreds of accusations and complaints made every month. In my experience the truth is always somewhere in the middle. So now the police have to issue apologies and explain the facts of the case to somebody when even at the conclusion of their investigation they aren't absolutely certain to the level of their involvement? My understanding is that the police do NOT have to tell you why they stopped you, and they certainly do NOT have to issue an apology when their dealing with such a fresh crime scene trail they have what sounds like the entire department going around looking for the suspect.

Whether or not they should is a whole other question, but it certainly shouldn't be phrased around some gigantic abridgement of somebody's civil rights, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

You plan on updating this article like you said you would, or are you just going to assume everything in the article is true?

I know the do-nothing and let it all seem sad and suspicious route is easiest, but if you are going to report it and pontificate, let's do some verification.

Chris Worden said...


The reason someone would care about the follow up is either: (a) they want to hold a police department accountable for potentially rogue behavior; or (b)they want to prove Lacey made the whole thing up. Regular media inquired into IMPD, Avon, and Hendricks County Sheriff's Office, who said they weren't involved, and ISP wouldn't have been doing that kind of investigation (or so an ISP trooper told me).

Sorry, but based on what I've seen in the last two years with IMPD, and the insanely disproportionate number of Latinos and black folk in traffic court in Hendricks (and Hamilton) counties, it seems as likely to me that a department with a reputation and careers to protect would be equally likely to lie about its involvement as a Colts player is to concoct such an incredible whopper for absolutely no gain, maximum distraction at the worse possible time, and incredible likelihood of being derided when discovered.

What more would you have me do? How do I break the tie? Say that Lacey must be lying because I'm still mad about him getting burned by Braylon Edwards?

Anonymous said...

Marco, your excuses or blindness is overwhelming.