Tyler Perry.com


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.


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

Comments (page 8)

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  • Melissa Akron, OH

    I totally agree that racial profiling should be investigated to the fullest!!!!!!!

  • John Florida

    Idiots, the whole pack of you, read the uniform crime report, find out the truth, black on black crime, white on black crime, black on white! Don't worry Tyler, Obama and Holder will never let the truth be reported, it does not fit the agenda.

  • Victoria Sanford, FL

    Tyler, I can agree with you on so many levels that something is wrong in Florida. I currently live in the city where Trayvon Martin was murdered. I can assure you this is racially motivated murder. I have heard stories from people in the city who have seen cops hit black people "suspects" with there cars and pay witnesses not to tell the police department. Other cops feel all black people have the intelligence of a 6 year old. The amount of times I have had to correct some of them is more than I wish to count. I am 31 years old and fighting my way out of a hard financial situation. If were not for my circumstances I would have moved out of this state a long time ago.

  • Rufus cali

    Oh NO an illegal/dangerous manuver and you got stopped!!! and the polcice were white!! RACISM , tinted windows R***** cops!! poor little tylor

  • Jacqueline Jackson Gilbert Arizona

    Tyler my heart is so full at this moment with sorrow, pain, and tears for Trayvon and his parents and extended family and friends I'm praying for you. Oh God!! I just want to cry and fall to my knees as I'm sending this email to express all that I fell at this moment. I am the mother of and to three sons ages 27, 24, and 20.I am devastated,and broken. This is a hurt that I will surly take to my grave. Tragic. Tyler please do all that you can to help Trayvon's family legally fight for justice for Trayvon. I wish I was an attorney.

  • you see me? under the rug

    Please let us know how to give important information safely, regarding two missing guys.

    • Rosolyn Nassau, N. P., The Bahamas #1666940

      It is deeply regretted that you had to experience such poor police interrogation of the highest order. Racial profiling is still alive in many countries and no country is immuned from any part of it. Nevertheless, all we can do is pray that all of these ills would soon be eradicated and that people learn to live as one no matter the color of their skin, nationality or religious beliefs, rich or poor God created us all and we will have to go before him one day to answer to these ills.

  • Dlyjrny California

    Thank you Mr. Perry, I'm a fun of yours. I'm grateful for utilizing your public venue as an instrument for social justice. There are many public service employees whose daily contributions are outstanding. They put their lives on the line to protect and serve. A minority, however, those who bring their prejudice, use the police department as their banner to exercise criminality and deviant behavior.

  • pam Texas

    Keep your head up! The police pulled me and my daughter over one night when i got off work at 2am. She was young the age of 7, but she's in college now to be a lawyer. It was two police officers it didn't take two polices cars for us. One police officer said my tail light was out. My kid was cring and asking me mom why are we stopped. One of the officers said shout that kid up. H*** i was scared too. Officer asked me where was i coming from? I told him from work. I told him to call his chief, instead he called the station. Because they are the police station we call when we leave our job to watch us get in our cars safely. The lady came back over the radio and said she's right. The officers told me to be safe and i could leave. I WAS P----! This happen in michigan. The next day i went to the police station and talked to the chief and told him what happen, he wasn't happy at all. The chief had me wait they came in he talk to them right in front of me. It wasn't pretty. They said they were sorry in front of the chief that was that scarey. But i was ok. The chief was black. The police officers was white and black. Next tell someone where you are or your on your way. So if something happen they could call you and find out where you are. Dail someone number on your cell put it on speaker lay it in your seat so they could hear. Lets keep praying for these families they will need it. Your famous now so becareful! May God Bless You Love You Tyler!

  • charles Peensylvania

    Hi Tyler- just read of your Atlanta police incident and it hearkened to a message I'd posted here last year after seeing your film FOR COLORED GIRLS. I'd recommended to you a 1945 novel based in a 1939 Atlanta ghetto. SWING LOW, by Edwin A. Peeples (it's listed, along with numerous media reviews from 1945 on Amazon) is somewhat along the lines of THE COLOR PURPLE, but significantly more raw, honest, germane to its environment and contemporary issues, and most significantly, not as marred by political-correctness and historic revisionism.

  • Ray Almon Tampa

    Tyler, I know your incident with those two cops had to be unnerving to say the least. Fortunately your celebrity status recognized by the Black officer got you out of that situation. Unfortunately, many minorities experience this type of behavior on a regular basis. Many of these Citizens On Patrol (COPs) believe they are above the law they have been sworn to uphold. There superiors put blinders on because they don't want to alienate themselves from their COPs. Your mother definitely gave you good advice. COPs want to always feel that they are in charge, and as soon as you make them fell otherwise, they will more than often retaliate. I know they put their lives on the line everyday, but that's no reason to abuse the privileges associated with their authority. May God Bless. Ray

  • DELORES Memphis, TN

    Tyler i am so sorry you had to go though that awful ordeal with the police.I know you were scared. I would be to if i had too go though something like that.This just let us know we come so far but yet so behind.It is sad to know that some people still have that (RACIAL PROFILING)!!!!!!! mind set and they think that is ok.

  • Mary Coleman United States


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