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Police refute claim Princeton professor was arrested due to race

The professor said she was handcuffed to a table over a parking ticket

By PoliceOne Staff

PRINCETON, N.J. —  A black Princeton professor claimed police handcuffed her to a table over a parking ticket, The New York Times reported. 

However, the department’s chief said officers acted well within policy in their arrest of professor Imani Perry.

The Feb. 7 encounter occurred when officers stopped Perry for driving 67 miles per hour in a 45 m.p.h. zone, Captain Nicholas K. Sutter told the publication. 

Perry said she was arrested over a “single parking ticket” however, officers who stopped her found her driving privileges were suspended and a warrant had been issued for her arrest due to two unpaid tickets in 2013.

“The warrant commands the officer to take the person into custody,” Sutter said.

Officers arrested Perry and when she was taken downtown, she was handcuffed to a work station and booked. When she paid her total fines of $130, she was released.

Perry wrote about the incident on Twitter and Facebook, calling the arrest unfair.

“The way I was treated had something to do with my race, and that we have a serious problem with policing in this society particularly with respect to Black people,” Perry wrote.

Perry said the handcuffs were cold on her arthritic wrists and wrote comments to those naysaying her conduct. 

“There are a number of commentators online who have repeated to me an all-too-common formulation: ‘Well, if you hadn’t done anything wrong, this wouldn’t have happened.’ But this demand for behavioral perfection from Black people in response to disproportionate policing and punishment is a terrible red herring,” she wrote.

Sutter said the department has no regulations on searches by gender, but it would not be practical as the department only has eight female officers.

“I don’t want to sound in any way like I am being defensive or arguing that Dr. Perry is not entitled to feel the way she does,” Captain Sutter said. “We are part of the larger law enforcement community in our current times in law enforcement. Therefore I understand how in this climate we can be perceived to be a microcosm of that.”

Perry joined Princeton in 2009 as an African-American studies professor. She concluded her Facebook post by asking commenters to keep her arrest in perspective of others who had more dire consequences. It garnered over 1,700 shares.

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