We hate to always feel like we’re playing the race card but sometimes there is no other way to describe the foolishness that goes on in this country that we live in. If you don’t believe me follow me to Atlanta, Georgia. This is the place where Teresa Culpepper called the police for help when she noticed her truck had been taken from outside of her home.
Instead of the police officer coming to her rescue by helping Culpepper locate her car, the officer figured he’d make a hero out of himself. Once he learned Culpepper’s first name–Teresa– he assumed that she was the same Teresa who’d participated in an aggravated assault that occurred earlier and he arrested her.
Culpepper’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, told theGrio.com that the police officer arrested Culpepper because he had “a hunch” that she was the one who’d committed the assault. There were no other officers to verify this officer’s “hunch” because according to Merchant the officer told his superiors, “don’t bother with a police line-up you might as well put her straight in jail.”
That was August 21st. Culpepper would spend the next 53 days in jail for a crime she didn’t commit, all because of her first name.
But is it really about a name? To me it seems like this incident was more about racial profiling and the tendency for the police to view all black people in a monolithic nature. Naturally there are some dumb criminals out there but how stupid do you have to be call the police knowing you, yourself, committed a crime not too long ago? It doesn’t add up. That rationale alone should have led the officer to do some type of investigation into this “hunch” of his. Not to mention that there is no other evidence that Culpepper was involved in the assault. No last name, no birth date, no address, no nothing.
Culpepper’s attorney said that her client is older than the woman who allegedly committed this crime and shorter.
What did match was the fact that she was a black woman. I can’t help but to play the race card on this because too often when it comes to law enforcement in America the lives of black people just aren’t valued as highly as our white counterparts. This officer was so quick to take away Culpepper’s rights just to make an arrest.
Merchant also mentioned that had Culpepper lived in another neighborhood, perhaps the police officer wouldn’t have been so quick to throw her in jail.
To add insult to injury the other Teresa, the woman who actually committed the aggravated assault came forth and admitted that although she didn’t want to be arrested, because of extenuating circumstances, she did want to make sure that an innocent woman wouldn’t be punished.
Interesting. That should have been the police officer’s concern. Culpepper was only released from jail when her public defender got the victim of the assault to come to court and state that Culpepper was not the attacker.
Now Culpepper has to go about the business of putting her life back together. While nearly two months in jail might not sound that bad that was nearly two months she didn’t work and two months she couldn’t pay any of her bills.
“My client’s lost everything. Imagine not being able to pay any of your bills for 53 days. She’s lost her home and is now living with friends. Her phone’s shut down. Her truck was impounded and she still can’t afford $500 to release it,” said Merchant.
Culpepper and her attorney plan to sue the city of Atlanta if they can’t reach a settlement.
Why do you think Terersa Culpepper was arrested? And how much does the city of Atlanta owe her?