You would think the license plate would give them pause, but you would be wrong:
A police traffic stop of Toledo Councilman Larry Sykes without any apparent probable cause has sparked an internal investigation, The Blade has learned.
Mr. Sykes, a former Toledo Board of Education member who was elected in November to city council, was pulled over at 9:25 p.m. April 24 after leaving the studios of WGTE-TV for a program on senior citizens and hunger.
Mr. Sykes, who is African-American, said the officer, who was white, likely racially profiled him.
Mr. Sykes said he has been racially profiled many times in the past by law enforcement officers, and that the license plate of the sport utility vehicle he was driving that night reads “4DRWBLK,” which stands for “4 driving while black.”
Mr. Sykes said he asked the officer, “What is the problem?” and his reply was, “It was difficult to read your tags,” according to his letter to Chief Moton.
“Chief Moton, as I drove away, I became very angry because he had no justification nor did he give me a decent reason for stopping me,” Mr. Sykes wrote in the letter. “Stating that he stopped me because he could not read my license plate, my license plate reads 4DRWBLK, which stands for “4 driving while black.”
Mr. Sykes said the incident angered him because he was not speeding, did not run a red light, and he was not driving his 2005 Chevrolet TrailBlazer erratically.
“I would like an explanation as to why this young officer would search for a reason to pull me over or look at my plate,” he wrote. “My license plates are big and bold, and it makes no sense why he would not be able to read it, I’ve had these license plates for the last 20 years and it is because I have been profiled so many times and stopped for driving while black.”
Board of Education, recently elected to City Council – at this point he’s a public figure. Doesn’t matter. They’re still pulling him over and questioning him.