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Black men told how to handle police stops
[Louisville, KY]


January 24, 2001
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Black men told how to handle police stops
[Louisville, KY]

JASON RILEY, The Courier-Journal
January 21, 2001, Sunday MET/METRO
Copyright 2001 The Courier-Journal
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY.)
January 21, 2001, Sunday MET/METRO

(LOUISVILLE, KY) -- A retired Louisville police officer and a local minister advised several African-American men how to handle a situation if pulled over by police during a forum in western Louisville yesterday.

Shelby Lanier, past president of the National Black Police Association, and Jerald Muhammad, minister of Muhammad's Mosque, a Nation of Islam congregation at 38th and Broadway, offered the advice during the second of a series of "manhood" classes. Sponsored by the mosque, the classes are aimed at helping men "accept their responsibilities," Muhammad said.

Yesterday's session was planned days before 18-year-old Clifford Lewis was fatally shot by Louisville police during an investigative traffic stop nearly two weeks ago, Muhammad said. But he said "the interest level has increased much more since that happened. People are looking for solutions. They don't know what to do."

When Lewis, an African American, backed a minivan into an officer, breaking the officer's right foot and crushing his left leg, police fired at him. After the minivan crashed into a house, an officer ordered Lewis to show his hands. When Lewis instead placed his hands in his waistband, the officer fired again, police said.

Of the 10 men who attended yesterday's session, "all but one had been pulled over and had had a negative experience," said Muhammad, who said he gets stopped once or twice a year. "And the other one didn't drive."

Lanier and Muhammad said that during traffic stops, people should:

= Cooperate with police.

= Not make any sudden movements.

= Be courteous.

= Not protest.

"I think that's the best way for anyone to handle a situation when approached by a police officer," Detective Bill Keeling, a Louisville police spokesman, said in an interview. "That makes the situation safe for everyone involved."

"It does no good to try to make your case with the officer on the street. The place to take the protest is to the court," Lanier said after the class.

The free classes will continue each Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., and next week will include a field trip to black-operated businesses.

Information is available by calling the mosque at 778-7052.

The 12-week series is open to men of all religions. Yesterday's class had originally been canceled because of the weather but was held when 10 people showed up.

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