University of Pittsburgh

David Harris in the Washington Post on Arrests for Expired Tags in Washington, D.C.

Publish Date/Time: 
October 19, 2011

Professor David Harris commented on a D.C. law that allows police to arrest any driver with an expired license tag.  D.C. appears to be the only place in the country with such a law, and the city has had it in place since the 1970s.  Police used the law in poor, crime-ridden areas such as Southeast D.C. against suspected drug dealers and criminals.  Complaints only surfaced when affluent people coming into D.C. from neighboring Virginia got a taste of the same treatment.  “Police operate with a greater sense of impunity in areas like Southeast because you’re not going to run into people who can make a lot of trouble if you arrest them, whereas in [affluent, mostly white] Northwest D.C., who knows who you might be arresting if you get somebody with an expired tag?”


Washington Post article link

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