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Trayvon Martin, Felipe Santos, Terrance Williams - What's Going On In Florida!!!

A few days before President Obama was supposed to speak at my studio, I was leaving the studio, headed to the airport.  Most times when I leave the studio I have an unmarked escort. Other times I constantly check in my rearview mirror to be sure that I'm not being followed. It’s a safety precaution that my security team taught me. As I got to an intersection, I made a left turn from the right lane and was pulled over by two police officers. I pulled the car over and put it in park. Then, I let the window down and sat in the car waiting for the officer. The officer came up to the driver’s door and said that I made an illegal turn. I said, "I signaled to get into the turning lane, then made the turn because I have to be sure I’m not being followed." He said, “why do you think someone would be following you?”

Before I could answer him, I heard a hard banging coming from the passenger window. I had never been in this position before so I asked the officer who was at my window what was going on and why is someone banging on the window like that. He said, “let your window down, let your window down. Your windows are tinted.” As I let down the passenger window, there was another officer standing on the passenger side of the car. He said, “what is wrong with you?” The other officer said to him, “he thinks he’s being followed.” Then, the second officer said, “why do you think someone is following you? What is wrong with you?”

Before I could answer the officer on the passenger side, the one on the driver's side had reached into the car and started pulling on the switch that turns the car on and off, saying, “put your foot on the brake, put your foot on the brake!” I was so confused as to what he was doing, or what he thought he was doing. It looked like he was trying to pull the switch out of the dashboard. I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key, so I told him that it wasn’t the key he was grabbing. I reached down into the cup holder to get the key, not realizing that the key had a black leather strap on it. As I grabbed it they both tensed up and I dropped it as I heard my mother’s voice from when I was a little boy.

My mother would always say to me, “if you get stopped by the police, especially if they are white policemen, you say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’, and if they want to take you in, you go with them. Don’t resist, you hear me?  Don’t make any quick moves, don’t run, you just go.”  My mother was born in 1945 into a segregated hotbed town in rural Louisiana. She had known of many colored men at the time who were lynched and never heard from again. Since I was her only son for ten years, growing up she was so worried about me. It wasn’t until after I heard her voice that I realized that both of these officers were white.

The officer on the driver's side continued to badger me, “why do you think someone is following you?” I then said, “I think you guys need to just write the ticket and do whatever you need to do.”  It was so hostile. I was so confused. It was happening so fast that I could easily see how this situation could get out of hand very quickly. I didn’t feel safe at all. But one officer stopped his questioning and said, “we may not let you go. You think you’re being followed, what’s wrong with you?”  At this point, I told him that I wanted to get out of the car.  I wanted the passersby to see what was happening.

As I stepped out of the car another officer pulled up in front of my car. This officer was a black guy. He took one look at me and had that “Oh No” look on his face.  He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic.

I said all of that to say this: do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?

Now I know that there are many great officers, patrolmen and security guys out there. I am aware of that. But although we have made significant strides with racial profiling in this country, the world needs to know that we are still being racially profiled, and until this situation has improved greatly, I’m not sure how a murder in Florida can be protected by a “stand your ground law.”

And in another case that I have been screaming at the top of my lungs about, also in Florida, is the case of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos, a young black man and a young Mexican man. Eight years ago, in Naples, FL, they were both put in the back of Deputy Steve Calkins' police car and never heard from again.

They were never arrested, never brought to jail. They were put into the back of Deputy Calkins' car and never heard from again. And to this day Deputy Steve Calkins is a free man.

I guess it's time to march in Naples now.

RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!

That way local government can’t make the decision on whether or not these people get punished.

Comments (page 10)

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  • F.T.

    Wow my computer is doing some strange things. still don't know how i got to this page.

    Reply
  • Andre' Brooklyn, New York

    Tyler, have you ever considered doing a documentary of your ordeal, and that of the Santos and Williams ? I think it would be worthy of pursuing !

    Reply
    • Sharon New York #1664675

      Hi Tyler, Thank God that your mother, through God, was watching over you! It would have been devastating if something had happened to you! Please make sure that you "always" have an unmarked escort, a bodyguard or someone who is ensuring your safety. You have earned that security status and we, as your audience would never want to even think of something terrible happening to you because of ignorance. This is, Tyler, an enlightenment from your mom, telling you that you,too, can be a target of racial profiling, even when that is the last concern on your mind. It is unsettling that a black had to come along to stop what may have been a very different ending. It makes me angry that in 2012, some people still see a "black" man, instead of a "man." When will someoene who has the power to change these sickening events step forward and close the door on these predators? I pray that someone will. I also know that you, Tyler can enlighten the world--who, because of Trayvon, knows that the brutality of racial profiling is alive and staring us in the face. You, Tyler can write a script depicting this horror-------even by opening the movie with the exact scene in your letter to us. You know what to do!!! Anyway, stay safe and protected. May God "always" watch over you and keep you in his care. Love and Hugs

      Reply
  • Sam Norfolk,VA

    Wow Tyler, It was a good thing that the Black officer recognised you; or it would've been a very different ending. But still, it should've happened at all. Whether you're famous or not, EVERYONE deserves to be treated with RESPECT and DIGNITY! Sweet Holy Spirit, this is a praying time; LORD help us all! We must keep up the fight regarding the murders of Trayvon,Felipe and Terrence! Because if we don't, no one else will either. My prayers are with the bereaved ones, LORD have mercy!

    Reply
    • GQ-TO #1664453

      You're right...if the black officer didn't recognize him as a celebrity. He would have gotten a ticket for a traffic violation !!!! OH MY CHRIST ! NOT TYLER PERRY, WHATEVER SHALL WE DO !!

      Reply
  • tbone ny

    So you made an erratic traffic maneuver, you were pulled over, you had tinted windows and made sudden movements in front of police officers…and then they let you go because you were famous? You really know how to relate to the common man. Good thing you put your two cents in about the terrible killing of a young man and made it about how you are allowed to drive poorly.

    Reply
    • Cox1 Aiken, South Carolina #1664445

      Wow (tbone) I think you REALLY missed the point that Mr. Perry was trying to make. The fact is - a large black man driving in an expensive car made a minor traffic violation (I'm sure YOU'VE NEVER done that because YOU are SO self-righteous). His anonymity to the white officers made him just as vulnerable to ill treatment, unjust harassment, and racial profiling as the Trayvon Martins of the world. As for him being released and apologized to: #1 He was blessed that SOMEONE came along to diffuse the situation (regardless of WHO he was). Him reaching for his key could have EASILY resulted in us losing another member of our African American celebrity with the trigger-happy generation of law enforcement that shoot first and ask questions later (or rather make up stories later). #2 If the officers had been professional enough to allow him to even state his case (whatever happened to 'license and registration' you know READING IS FUNDAMENTAL ) perhaps they could have learned his identity the RIGHT way and the notion that someone might have been following him would not have seemed so absurd to them. #3 Why are YOU HERE ANYWAY? If you want to be cynical and degrading to Mr. Perry it begs the question to be answered - perhaps you should spend your bitter and hateful elsewhere.

      Reply
    • Derrick Washington,D.C. #1664893

      Tbone, You sound like an idiot. Mr. Perry has experienced what alot of black men have experienced. He was not stopped for driving erractically, he was stopped because he was a black man driving a car someone (a white police officer) thought someone like him shouldnt be driving. Thats why he was stopped. Thank God he made it out alive. Which shows even with a Black man in the (white) House we still live in a country where people are judged by the color of their skin and not by the content of the character.

      Reply
    • mamaj lithonia, ga #1666454

      Tyler, I am so very sorry that this has happened to you, and I agree wholeheartedly that racial profiling should be treated as a hate crime. There is no reason that this type of thing should keep happening ONLY to our Black males and having others think that we are being overly sensitive and are throwing the race card out as if it is an excuse for something we did wrong. Tyler, one would have to be a moron living under a rock in a foreign country, to not know who you are. I would not be surprised if they weren't monitoring your studio constantly, just for the opportunity to make an example of " an uppity Negro", meaning that you can get it just like the rest of them. I, like you, know that there are plenty of good officers in Atlanta and elsewhere, but when situations like this keep happening, it makes you wonder where they are. A Black officer should not have had to come to the scene to tell them who you are, because first of all you are a human being, that just happens to be a celebrity. I think if all police officers would vow to treat each and every citizen, no matter what race or color, with dignity and respect, and consider how they would treat a beloved family member in a similar situation, this world would be completely different. Not every Black person is a criminal, just like not every white person is a saint The hatred and unjust treatment is just overwhelming to me, and I just want it to stop!

      Reply
    • India New Orleans #1711883

      Bobbi Kristina she did a great job I cant wait to see what God has in store for this young lady. I knew that the blessing of god would be upon on her life. she is already a actor in my book. I pray that God give her the stength to do good in her life, her mom would be proud.

      Reply
    • Alice Evansville, IN #1717562

      Bobbi Kristina did n awesome job last night. Funny thing is I was just flipping through the channels andI saw her. It was also my first time seeing For Better or Worse! Excellent all the way around. Ms. Bobbi did an awesome job and clearly she already has the skills needed to make it. Her family should be very proud of her.

      Reply
    • Norma sloan Pennsylvania #1742585

      Cox1 of aiken,south carolina, I agree he was a black in a car that to them white boys no black man should be driving and thats why they stop tyler waiting for him to make the first move,i do believe god step in at the right time as well because those cops I do believe had all out intensions of something up their sleeves because the way I read the incident the patrol car did not have any cameras why is that believe me sweetie when I tell u racism is we've come a long ways ,but it ain't over by a long shoot as late as 2005 I was living in atlanta if anyone know the day malcolm -wife was buried the klu klux klan were in attendance as well on the other side of the fence throwing things at black people the same way they did back in the day the burning of the churces if someone told me that the klan set tylers studio on fire I would believe it u see people dont think the klan exist anymore because the klan fix themselves not to b seen because of the law the ones that are still in sheets the law in that state allow them to wear them cause they dont care they are klan that wear plain clothes but a certain type of an attire as such as the skin heads a lot of them live in far areas like far back in the woods in various states oh they still exist especially in the southern states my fellow brothers and sistas in christ our best bet is to continually stay prayed up in god and the word because god has more power then any white boy in sheets

      Reply
  • Stephanie Monnessen, Pa

    This is a really tuff world we live in. It is a shame that this will never go away.. I am both Black and White and I always say that I am proud of who I am but everyone thinks that I am white but when you tell people that you are both you can see the change in how they treat you. When my mother married my father was back in the 60's and back then it was pretty much unheard of but I told her that she must of really loved him and I am proud of my mother because she didn't let people like the people now days keep her from the person that she loved. Just like that other person posted on here if it was a young black man holding that gun and shoot I young white man hi would be under the jail. Lets all keep it real. No one no matter of skin color deseves to die that young. This stand your ground law is one of the dumbest laws that are in place. It is just a shame and my hearts go out to the families that have to face this everyday. Tayler you are a great and very blessed person and glad that you shared this with the world cus this happens more often then anyone will ever know.

    Reply
  • Kim Brown Cincinnati

    Wow Tyler, it's called Driving while Black. I can't wrap my heard around the Trayvon Martin issue that they are trying to dismiss Zimmerman and protect him. This is so messed up and the people are outrage. This Family deserves justice and I'm sick and tired of them portraying this Family in a negative way. We all know that if this Neighborhood Watchmen was Black and killed a White kid he'll be in jail no questions asked, and Every Black person with common sense know's this. Stay strong Tyler, Love you Big time.

    Reply
  • MARYAM MUHAMMAD United States

    I AM SORRY FOR WHAT YOU'VE HAD TO ENDURE I WISH PEOPLE COULD JUST BE MORE COMPASSIONATE TO EACH OTHER. GOD IS WITH YOU.

    Reply
  • Wacuka UK

    My goodness...that was so close! God is with you ... He sent that cop your way! I am so glad your using your voice & platform to adress these issues. May God continue to empower you because every voice is needed. I am not American but I am genuinely worried for the African American community and for America in general. From an outsider's point of view, just the thought of raising a child in the USA today sends chills through me! It feels & looks like an extremly hostile & unjust environment. Everything from the racial profiling & killings to abortion statistics , prison statistics, HIV statistics, the heavily biased justice system, the education system,etc ... it just breaks my heart that the African American community is in such a fragile state. The God given rights , the unalienable Rights in your declaration of independence seem to be slipping away ... FAST! The community has to keep praying & fighting. Such rights are never given, they are taken. They are fought for & they are won. You all should step up the fight, 'shouting from the mountain tops' so to speak. The Church leaders should continue to use their platforms to pull the community together & lead it to victory again. God is with you all and He will see you through this!

    Reply
  • Smith US

    First off I cannot speak for the thought processes of the officers involved in this situation and I have not read any other comments on this blog. I would just like to point out that Mr. Perry made an illegal turn and had illegal tinting on his windows (could they see if he was black or not through those windows?) which gave the officers every legal right to stop his vehicle. Any number of factors could have been considered as to why they were "giving him a hard time". Maybe it was a known drug area, high crime area, or maybe it was simply Mr. Perry's demeanor and actions that prompted a further investigation. Profiling in general, not just r***** profiling, is still a problem in this country but as a law enforcement officer, I can say with absolute certainty that most traffic stops in this country start with a violation of the law and, with the totality of the circumstances, come to a conclusion that is deemed fit for the situation. Just because the officers involved were white, Mr. Perry is black, and the officer that resolved the situation was black, does not constitute a jump to racial profiling, not just in this case, but in any case. Motivations and intent must be considered before any conclusions are made.

    Reply
  • Mark Grapevine,Tx

    Role reversal)..If this had been Steven Spielgberg,Woody Allen, J** Leno, or Ryan Seacrest . The "Media Spin", and The national attention given would be one of a different tone,one of disappointment in (selective) law enforcement,and for the profiling, or"hate crimes. We are jall humans, similar,but life experiences has shaped our attitudes,and perceptions of of those that are different than us. In the Justice or (just us!) System. Misconduct of law enforcement,and corrective actions not taken against the officers involved,would be the headlines of the day. When will the "African-American man" share in on "the inalienable rights of our Constitution." All men be created equal"? Or is Jim Crow sitting on his porch,watching his legacy . I began to understand from life experiences, that when you walk in another's shoes. They can either be, too tight, and uncomfortable,too big and hard to manage walking and in-turn get "left behind" and come back to kick you in the "butt"!

    Reply
  • Charles Beasley Orlando Florida

    Tyler, with all the kinfolks I have in the business, Like Aretha, Mel Jackson, and even my cousin singing in the VOICE, James Darnell Campbell. I find it quite a hard business to crack. Please listen to this song I sung for Trayvon Martin. I have now been made more awareof when going into a store to look so disarmed and transparent. I'm talking about hands in view and every effort to not look suspicious. I think what happened to Trayvon has affected the very innocence of of black men here in Florida because if you look at it, If you (THEY) claim to have been threatened and I (WE) are murdered and can't testify. They can claim self defense and the no retreat law. We need GOD to see about his people who are being victimized and getting away, it seems!!

    Reply
  • Judith A. Birt Alabame

    T.P I agree with you when you say it is time for us as a people to stand up and start taking action against this kind of profiling. I say we need to start setting up local organizations in our communities to monitor these kind of situations on a daily basis. Because we are losing to many of our young people to these kind of situations. I have sons and I've always told them just as your mother told you. I also say our young people are going to have to change their way of thinking and start carrying their self in a more respectable way as well. I think this would make a good educational movie starring Uncle Joe. Smiling

    Reply
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