John Felton, a black man, was driving to his mother's house in Dayton, Ohio to celebrate her birthday when he was pulled over by a white police officer. Felton recorded the interaction on his phone:
Felton: No disrespect, I don’t have nothing against police officers, but all the shit that’s going on, that’s some scary shit. To have a police officer just trail you..
Felton: And then you just pull me to re-, because you said I didn’t signal? What? Do you know how it looks?
Felton: You drive without being in a cop car, right? You know how it is when a police pull you over. It’s like “I’m not doing nothing, why is he? Every move I make, why is he making it? I’m not doing nothing.” Because I have a Michigan plate? Other than that, why was you trailing me?
Officer: Because you made direct eye contact with me and held onto it while I was passing you on Salem.
Listening to the recording, I was impressed by Felton's refusal to be cowed by the officer, and for standing up for what it right.
After expressing incredulousness, the officer tells Felton that they can keep arguing and the officer can give Felton a citation and take it to court—or Felton can have his license back and have a safe day.
After remaining silent for a day, the Dayton Police department issued the following statement:
From August 14-16, Dayton Police Department along with Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol conducted Safe Communities Through Aggressive Traffic Enforcement or (SCATE) an initiative that is aimed at decreasing OVI related fatalities and injuries in the city of Dayton. Traffic fatalities and injuries have increased significantly since 2014. Thirteen (13) have occurred in West Patrol Operations Division since January 2015, a 25% increase from the previous year. Additionally, gun crimes with injuries have increased by 73% since May 2015.
During this weekend, a Dayton Police Officer pulled John Felton over on August 15 for not signaling within 100 feet of a turn. During the stop the Officer additionally acknowledged that Mr. Felton made sustained direct eye contact prior to being stopped. The traffic infraction was verified by the video; however making direct eye contact with an officer is not a basis for a traffic stop.
The Dayton Police Department is a true partner in the community and enjoys a positive community-police relationship. The Dayton Police Department is in contact with Mr. Felton. He has agreed to a conversation with the officer, facilitated by the Dayton Mediation Center. This will allow Mr. Felton and the Officer to discuss the specifics of the incident.