What's it like to 'drive while black'? Take a ride with these guys

Johnson, Gray, Williams and Jackson
Ron Johnson, Walter Gray, Brandt Williams and DeCarlo Jackson went for a ride to talk about driving while black.
Matthew Hintz for MPR News

The fatal police shooting of Philando Castile in July rekindled debate over alleged racial profiling by police.

Before Castile was killed by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop, he'd already been either stopped or ticketed by police more than 50 times over a span of 14 years.

Many African-Americans say they're singled out by police officers in traffic stops, what's often called "driving while black." Some national studies have shown a higher percentage of African-Americans are stopped by police than white or Hispanic drivers.

Three black men talked about their experiences with police, during a roving roundtable discussion as they drove around the Twin Cities in a van.

Walter Gray, 74, is a self-employed financial advisor who lives in Crystal. He had his first encounter with police in his hometown of Detroit at the age of 10, when he said an officer slapped him.

Ron Johnson, 36, is an independent filmmaker living in Minneapolis. Johnson was 17 and living in Georgia when he and a friend were pulled over by a law enforcement officer who asked if they were transporting drugs.

DeCarlo Jackson, 21, is a musician from St. Paul. Jackson had his first encounter with police at age 12, when he was stopped by an officer as he was running to get to church.

The group drives by the memorial to Castile.
The group drives by the roadside memorial to Philando Castile, who was stopped, shot and killed in July. There's nobody there at the roadside memorial to Castile, but it appears to be well tended.
Matthew Hintz for MPR News
Volume Button
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News