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Is there anything more fragile than a cop’s ego, particularly when they’re dealing with Black citizens? The only thing worse than a snowflake cop who can’t stand a Black attitude is a court that also loves nothing more than to humble a Black person no matter how minor said Black person’s offense may have been.

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According to AL.com, the Ozark Municipal Court in southeast Alabama has given 39-year-old father Reginald Burks the option to either spend up to a month in jail or issue a written apology to an officer he allegedly told to “get the hell out” of his way while the officer stood in front of his car after giving him a speeding ticket.

First, let’s start with how this whole ridiculous drama unfolded.

AL.com reports that Burks was pulled over on Dec.13. 2023 for “speeding” while taking his kids to school, and that’s when things went left.

The officer said his radar gun was broken, so he used cruise control to estimate the speed, Burks said.

“And I told him he was full of crap because there’s no way that he clocked my speed by cruise control,” Burks said.
Things went downhill from there. The officer gave Burks the ticket, and then stood in front of his car, Burks said, forcing the driver to back up and go around him.
“I said, ‘Get your a** out of the way so I can take my kids to school,’” Burks said. “My daughter’s like, ‘Daddy you cursed.’ And I said, ‘I’m sorry boo.’”
So, just to recap; an officer who couldn’t really prove a Black man who was taking his daughters to school was speeding, gave him a ticket anyway, stood in front of his car after the stop should have been over, and now a judge wants the Black man to apologize for getting frustrated with the whole thing and talking a little slick to the cop otherwise his freedom gets taken away? Even if we were to ignore the myriad of instances where white motorists and pedestrians left a scene unscathed and unpunished after they berated, cursed out, and disrespected a cop, it would still feel like Burks is getting the uppity negro treatment from authorities that want him to know his place.
Mind you, Burks was issued a speeding ticket, but he wasn’t charged with disorderly conduct or any other crime related to the stop. In fact, Burk went to court prepared to plead guilty to speeding and pay his fine, and that’s when Judge Nicholas Bull instructed him to write an apology letter to the officer he cursed at under the threat of being put in jail for 10 to 30 days.
“I was like, I’ll just pay the ticket, but I’m not going to apologize,” Burks told AL.com.
Burks also said he would rather be thrown in jail than write the apology.
“What am I going to do? I’m going to jail,” he said. “I ain’t writing no letter. I can’t do it. I don’t see where it’s legal for him to do that.”
At the end of the day, Burke should never have been put in the poison to have to make this decision in the first place. He is an almost 40-year-old father, not a misbehaving toddler who needs to be taught a lesson about respecting his elders.

“He’s not able to make a choice about whether or not he wants to apologize,”  said Jenny Carroll, a professor of criminal law. . “And he’s not a child, he’s an adult man. He’s not being allowed to exercise his own decision-making process about whether or not his behavior warrants issuing an apology to the officer.”

Civil attorney David Harrison told WTYV he believes the judge violated the constitution by demanding Burke issue the apology, and that he could be opening himself up to a lawsuit.

“I think there is a lot of confusion about it,” Harrison said.

The attorney believes that the situation Burks found himself in has nothing to do with the speeding ticket that started this ordeal, but it is all about free speech.

Speech that is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which he says is being violated by this forced apology ordered by Judge Bull.

“According to federal cases, what has to happen is those words that he or someone uses have to insight violence. That means it has to be a serious threat. That is not the case here,” Harrison said.

Burke is due back in court on June 4.

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