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Ventura County Perspective

Racial Profiling

February 11, 2001

Re "Deputy Accused of Racial Profiling," Jan. 24.

Again a sorry excuse for stopping a black man. This time for walking in Moorpark?

Sheriff Bob Brooks needs to give his deputies sensitivity training to teach them that all blacks do not look alike and do not all commit crimes.

On Dec. 30, 1999, the same thing happened to my two grandsons on their way to school from Oxnard. They were stopped in Thousand Oaks because they resembled a light-skinned black man or dark-skinned white man who had just held up a bank. One was on his way to UCLA and the other to Fullerton after having spent the holidays with family.

A few months earlier, these same young men had been written up in a newspaper with their family because of their exemplary life. The mother, a teacher for 25 years, the father in the police department for 30 years, two other brothers at home--all religious, musical and involved in school.

It took a few minutes to stop and question these young men but it takes one to six months to investigate and to get this straight. What happens if a job or life depended on this?

It has been more than 12 months since the stop of my grandsons and still no apology to them for the error the Sheriff's Department made.

And I say error because every black man who drives in Ventura County is not asking for trouble. The trouble is when the Sheriff's Department stops you because you are DWB (driving while black).

MARY V. NELSON

Oxnard

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