February 17, 2016

The “Controversy” Stems Directly From Unlawful Acts of the Aggrieved Professor

To the Editor:

The subject headline in the February 10 Town Topics [“Unpaid Parking Tickets Lead to Controversy,” page one] was the “take away” for many readers on the arrest of a prominent Princeton professor after being stopped for speeding on historic Mercer Street at nearly 70 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone. As increasingly typical in our “PC gone wild”  media and academia, this headline was a complete mischaracterization of the incident. It further failed to address fairly and completely the specific actions during the chase, traffic stop, and police conduct as required by their protocol; and procedures in conformance with establish law and regulation.

Let’s get real! The whole controversy stems directly from unlawful acts of the aggrieved professor, including all the protocols for subsequent actions incident to local police mandate to enforce our laws. No traffic stop, no controversy, no issue about warrants issued by a judge for failure to pay parking fines required in such cases. ( Yes, maybe warrants are a bit over the top in these cases but are apparently issued consistently to all in similar circumstances.)

Most unfortunately, this nationally esteemed and learned professor has charged endemically racist police actions and conduct, thus claiming to be a VICTIM even to the point of stating “I do not believe I did anything wrong.” Does she suggest speeding at nearly 70 m.p.h. along historic Mercer Street is “not wrong”? Anyone who watched the video and heard the very polite and business-like manner in which the officer addressed the “victim” while she sat in the car? Abusive language? Disrespect? Unreasonable requests?

As to the response by the University and the Town to this incident, many if not most Americans believe the “Rule of Law” is the foundation of our constitutionally mandated rights and freedoms. They must be appalled as I am by the wide publicity accorded the Princeton professor’s allegations of racism and improper conduct by police officers here and even taking her rant nationwide. The Town Topics headline that unpaid parking tickets started this “Controversy” was especially egregious.

The immediate response to the “Controversy” by President Eisgruber parroted by Mayor Lempert was “they have been shocked that such an arrest could result from unpaid parking tickets.” Again, the real causative factor related to the “Controversy” going viral was a traffic stop incident to police pursuit and stopping of a speeder with an expired license recklessly endangering safety of others on historic Mercer Street. The next allegation may be that the local police when they initiated the chase knew she was a black woman with out of state tags.

In this hot and heavy political season, “pandering” seems to be increasingly a negative term for eliciting support of certain voting blocs, especially any perceived as disadvantaged. A term not used for many years which I feel should be resurrected to describe Princeton University’s and the Towns’ handling of this case and several others recently like Sanctuary City ICE issues, Black Justice League and student groups seeking return to academic freedom and open dialogue on campus is OBSEQUIOUSNESS.

John Clearwater

Governors Lane