Lauren Elizabeth Cutshaw was driving while intoxicated in Bluffton, S.C., and ran a stop sign at 60 miles per hour. When officers stopped Cutshaw, she thought her white privilege would earn her a pass, but it didn’t.
The 32-year-old told officers she’s a “very clean, thoroughbred, white girl.” And, when police asked what that had to do with anything, she said, “You’re a cop, you should know what that means,” the Bluffton Police Department’s report said, according to The Island Packet.
Cutshaw said she only had two glasses of wine, to celebrate her birthday, before driving (she had a .18 percent blood alcohol level). And, other reasons she said shouldn’t be arrested include her perfect grades, the fact was a cheerleader and sorority girl, and her partner is a cop.
“Making statements such as these as a means to justify not being arrested are unusual in my experience as a law enforcement officer and I believe further demonstrate the suspect’s level of intoxication,” the report states. But drunk driving was only one of the charges issued against Cutshaw early Saturday morning.
She was also arrested on charges of speeding, disregarding a stop sign, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia, the New York Post reports.
When Cutshaw told the officers, “You’re a cop, you should know what that means,” she insinuated that white people, or more specifically, white women, could be excused for breaking the law, in this case traffic violations.
And she wasn’t far from the truth.
Black and Latino drivers are more likely to be arrested during traffic stops.
The Stanford Open Policing Project analyzes the rates at which police stop motorists in locations across the country.
“After accounting for age, gender, and location, we find that officers ticket, search, and arrest Black and Hispanic drivers more often than whites,” the report states. “For example, when pulled over for speeding, Black drivers are 20 percent more likely to get a ticket (rather than a warning) than white drivers, and Hispanic drivers are 30 percent more likely to be ticketed than white drivers.”
Bluffton Police Department officers actually searched Cutshaw’s car, which is not the usual as “Black and Hispanic motorists are about twice as likely to be searched compared to white drivers,” according to Stanford researchers.
They also documented that discrimination plays a role in vehicle searches:
“In our data, the success rate of searches (or the hit rate) is generally lower for Hispanic drivers compared to whites; so the outcome test indicates Hispanics face discrimination.”
“This week, new data released concurs with the Stanford researchers’ findings.”
An analysis of more than 20 million stops in North Carolina since 2002 found Blacks are 95 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites and 115 percent more likely to be searched after being stopped. The research is included in a newly published book called, “Suspect Citizens.”
Cutshaw happens to be in the minority of white traffic violators who’ve received a ticket, had her car searched and got arrested.