Do you remember when you were kids and you were roughhousing with your smaller siblings or cousins but you didn’t know your own strength so eventually somebody got punched in the gut and started crying so you had to hover over them saying something goofy like, “I’ll give you the rest of my Skittles if you don’t tell your mom, OK?”
Well, in this analogy, the smaller kids are a Black couple and their actual child who were minding their own business; the “roughhousing” is clear and blatant racial profiling; the “don’t tell mom” incentive is $75,000 in settlement money; “Mom” is basically everyone and the “you” in this scenario is the city of Louisville and its constantly embattled police department.
According to The Courier-Journal, Anthony Parker Sr. and his wife Demetria Firman filed a lawsuit in 2019 saying that in 2018, they were driving home from church with their then-nine-year-old son when they were pulled over by officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department and were made to exit their vehicle to be frisked in a “desperate attempt by the officers to find guns and drugs,” which, of course, they did not find. The suit accuses cops of pulling the couple over “because they are Black, were in a nice car and were in a designated target neighborhood of LMPD.”
In 2018, the officers claimed they had pulled Parker over because he failed to use his turning signal when making a turn. Maybe it was blue-flavored caucasity-infused arrogance that had the cops forgetting their body cameras were on, but the footage showed the car’s turning signal was on when the couple was stopped.
So, since the cops involved in the stop—officers Doerr, Gabriel Hellard, now-former officer Kevin Crawford and now-former Chief Steve Conrad—didn’t have a blue leg to stand on, the city decided last month to settle with the couple for $75,000.
But the agreement came under the condition that the plaintiffs are “not to make or direct anyone to make any statements, written or verbal, with the intention to defame, disparage or in any way criticize the personal or business reputation, practices or conduct of Metro Government.” Parker and Firman are also prohibited from criticizing the officers “as it pertains to the underlying facts of this action.”
Honestly, you can’t blame the couple for taking the 75 racks if all they have to do is stay silent about an incident that amounts to just a regular-degular day of negro policing in America, but news of the settlement agreement looks bad for the city and cops who clearly want desperately not to look bad.
Maybe that’s why First Assistant County Attorney Ingrid Geiser knew she’d better clean things up by telling the Courier-Journal that Parker and Firman “are not prohibited from talking truthfully about what happened during their traffic stop.” Geiser added, however, that the language in the agreement “should have more accurately reflected the agreement of the parties.”
In other words: Please take these Skittles and don’t tell your mom.