Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

5Jun/130

Obama appellate court nominee behind ‘driving while Black’ case

Interesting the things you do and don't hear about people and events in the news, at least not from major news outlets .  During the early reporting yesterday, at least during my very early scan of the news, I hadn't heard about the connection of Judge Wilkins to the 1992 racial profiling incident and lawsuit in Maryland.  I remember the case well, but didn't remember the name.

From the Pittsburgh Courier online...

A federal judge President Barack Obama wants to promote to the appellate bench successfully sued the Maryland State Police for racial profiling after his family was pulled over and searched for drugs while driving back from a funeral.

The 1992 search has been at the center of two decades of litigation that's become known as the "driving while Black" case. U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins has shown an unyielding effort to combat racial profiling in drug stops through three subsequent lawsuits, the final one ultimately decided just this year.

Wilkins, whom Obama nominated Tuesday to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has said his family's roadside detention for an eventual search by a drug-sniffing dog was a "humiliating and degrading experience" and he's been determined to use the courts to prevent it from happening to others.

The Wilkins stop came on May 8, 1992, during an all-night road trip home from his grandfather's funeral in Chicago. His cousin Scott El-Amin was driving in their rented Cadillac, and his uncle and his uncle's wife were also in the car. Wilkins has said they were hurrying because they were all due at work in the morning — Wilkins, then a public defender in Washington, had a court appearance scheduled.

Read the full story...

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