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The Root: Profiling? Cincinnati Police Target Big Rims

The Root: Profiling? Cincinnati Police Target Big Rims:

…police in Cincinnati have taken to impounding cars with rims 20 inches or larger, citing a vague public-safety code that they say gives them the authority to do so.

After being impounded, the vehicles must pass a safety inspection before they can be returned to their owners, who pay a fee for that as well as one for towing.

The rims, known as “donks,” have become popular with black drivers. Police say it’s simple: Their disproportionate size makes them dangerous (watch the video at the link), but others wonder about what’s really motivating the enforcement efforts…

From The Angry Black Tumblr | Comment below or Reblog @ Tumblr

1 comment to The Root: Profiling? Cincinnati Police Target Big Rims

  • There are many ways one could look at this issue.

    First, this may be little more than Law Enforcement living up to its moniker as money collectors for the city. Most of the time, police agencies will step up enforcement of certain sections of the vehicle code (like speeding) at certain times of the month to meet their quotas (which every department has, but never admits to publicly…until the memo is leaked to the press, that is). So, what may have been “accepted” yesterday (like going 5 over the limit) is enforced today. And then it goes back to being “ignored” tomorrow.

    Second, I am not personally familiar with the demographics of Cincinnati, its drivers, and their relative popularity of these wheels, broken down by neighborhood, etc. However, I cannot discount a possibility of profiling by the CPD. Such profiling has always occurred in police departments, especially in major cities, and I do not see any differences here.

    Third, the men in the video that accompanies the article, however, shoot themselves in the foot several times. The problem for these men is that their cars were were unsafe for reasons other than the rims. It leads me to believe that they did the work themselves (or had friends do it) and botched things like the brakes. In other words, their car(s) would have – and should have – failed vehicle inspections in several states. The lack of a catalytic converter in that car is a full fail in all 50 states. These guys are lucky that the CPD threw them a break on the cat; the fine for removing (not replacing) a catalyst can run up to $15,000. What people tend to forget about motor vehicles is that they must be able to pass a state check at all times that the vehicle is on the road. It is no different than the need to obtain “financial responsibility” paperwork (often through “Auto Insurance”); it is a price that must be paid to operate a motor vehicle on public roads at all times.

    Aftermarket modifications are a very tricky road to navigate. Mostly because the regulations regarding modifying certain aspects of any vehicle can be rather vague. But the argument can not be one of “lack of previous enforcement” as a means of affirmative defense.