Cop Allegedly Pulls Over Group Of Sorority Sisters Doing Community Service Because He Believed They Were 'Fighting'
The sisters were picking up trash when an officer stopped them for questioning.
May 14, 2018 at 10:00 pm
Sigma Gamma Rho has requested that Pennsylvania’s state highway patrol apologize to several of its members who were stopped as they were doing community service, Coed reports.
According to an account posted to Facebook by Shawna Naomi, the sisters were out picking up trash on a stretch of Pennsylvania Highway the sorority adopted when they heard sirens.
Add "performing community service while Black" to the list of things that make you suspicious.— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) May 12, 2018
This happened to my #SGRho sorors in Harrisburg, PA this morning. Though they weren't harmed (Thank God!) the fact that the officer asked for their IDs is telling. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/WsmMcA8O0N
Turning, they found a highway patrol vehicle; the officer approached them and reportedly said, “What’s going on? Are ya’ll fighting?”
Naomi says one of her sisters responded that they weren’t fighting, but were cleaning up the highway.
Some confusion then ensued. The officer asked what schools the women were attending; they, however, are all graduates who continue to be involved in Sigma Gamma Rho after entering the professional world.
The officer ran their IDs, and, of course, found nothing out of the ordinary.
Then the sisters began asking him questions. He’d said he’d received a call about them, but when asked about the source of the complaint, the officer allegedly said, “Uh, well, I wasn’t responding to a call … no one reported you all, I just saw ya’ll on the highway, and I called it in.”
Naomi says at that point, she carefully confronted the officer, asking him, “Do you realize that you have contradicted yourself several times during this conversation?”
She says she tried to explain why she and her sisters were so tense, reminding him of recent, fatal encounters between black people and police officers. She added that he had no answer for her when she asked why he was “drawing attention to us in a negative way [when] all we were trying to do [is] serve the community.”
Instead, the officer said the women were doing “great work.”
Naomi says the situation had the sister not only in tears, but genuinely afraid.
Their sorority, however, has their backs. Sigma Gamma Rho issued a statement on Instagram, calling for the highway patrol to “immediately issue a public apology to the members of the sorority questioned,” to undergo diversity training and to begin to regularly “attend town hall meetings.”
The Pennsylvania highway patrol has yet to respond.