Public Comments for: HB122 - Issuing citations; certain traffic offenses, exclusion of evidence.
I do not support any bills that criminalize folks
On behalf of our volunteers and members, the Virginia Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative strongly oppose HB 79, HB 122, and HB 759, and would ask that you vote NO on these bills. These bills would disproportionately affect black & poor citizens. Data released by the Virginia Community Policing Act shows that black drivers are the only racial or ethnic group in the state that are stopped by police at a higher rate than their share of the population. Black drivers are also more likely to be pulled over for minor offenses such as equipment violations. We believe that because black constituents are the most affected, they have the right to have a say in bills that would repeal the provisions made since 2020 to stop police officers from engaging in these minor stops. Limiting interactions between law enforcement and citizens saves bodily and monetary resources and increases the safety of officers who face uncertain situations whenever they pull over any vehicle. It also increases the safety of black drivers whose lives are at risk whenever they are pulled over by a police officer as we have seen in too many cases where excessive and/or deadly force was used in these sorts of traffic stops. Finally, reinstating the provision that states law enforcement may stop, seize, and search based upon marijuana odor contradicts the widely lauded legalization of marijuana in Virginia creating the potential for scenarios where someone who doesn’t even partake in marijuana consumption or partakes in a legal amount, could still be subject to invasive (at the very least) searching. For all the reasons stated above, please vote NO on HB 79, HB 122, and HB 759. Thank you so much for your consideration, hard work, and service to the Commonwealth.
I am writing the House of Delegates to strongly urge that they block the repeal of laws banning pretext traffic stops for minor infractions (HB79, HB122, and HB759). Repealing these laws will put minorities in danger of being stopped and wrongfully detained. I know this to be true because it happened to one of my good friends from college. She was pulled over, arrested and detained, later released and left stranded to figure out a way to get home. The prosecutor in her locality found that the state trooper had no legal basis for stopping her and pulling her from her car. This incident was unacceptable and left me feeling unsafe to drive at night. Police officers are supposed to make everyone feel safe and protected. No group should be left to worry if they will survive a traffic stop. Please consider the weight of this decision and remember that you serve ALL Virginians. ALL Virginians deserve to feel safe, be treated with dignity and respect; not presumed guilty of wrong doing.
Repealing these bills will not keep the innocent, safe. It was the ones selected that ultimately saved my friends life and livelihood, due to a state trooper who violated her rights and these bills, making false claims. These bills and the dashcam footage allowed her at minimum, maintain her already clean record. Do not repeal.
I am not sure why any honest, moral, and decent human being, would want to stop law abiding citizens for no good reason. The fact that we need laws to protect citizens from dishonest law enforcement personnel is a disgrace in its own right. These laws should not be repealed.
Allowing pretext traffic stops for minor infractions will victimize innocent citizens and create opportunity for more racially biased injustice, like these: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/prosecutor-no-legal-basis-virginia-state-trooper-stop-black-woman-n1267018
The Virginia Sheriffs Association supports HB 79 and HB 122 to revert secondary offenses to primary offenses. Law enforcement officers must be able to enforce the traffic laws to keep the roads safe. The Virginia Sheriffs Association opposes HB428. Requiring the probation office to be notified undercuts the confidentiality of the informant and both jeopardizes the investigation and puts the informant's safety at risk. As well, eliminating "recent" violators from becoming informants fails to recognize that often informants can be adjudicated in violation, sentenced and want to begin to work shortly after the violation. This bill significantly hampers law enforcement safe and effective use of confidential informants.
Honored legislators, I and my family do NOT support attempts to go backwards on civil rights and justice. We must stay the course on ending racial profiling in traffic stops and other law enforcement activities. If we are to have a just, democratic society, we must end racial bias in the law enforcement area first and foremost. As a former Fairfax County dispatcher, I understand the problem; racial profiling does terrible damage in relations between the police and the public, and does nothing to improve public safety. We've ended racial profiling, we must stay course. Respectfully, Dr. Rebecca Goolsby
I strongly oppose these bills. Without impact to public safety, they seek to remove the recent justice improvements across Virginia. The kinds of low-level traffic stops these bills seek to bring back disproportionately affect people of color and negatively impact the Commonwealth. Race-based policing has no place in Virginia. In the first four months of SB5029/ HB5058 going into effect, the number of Black drivers who were searched fell by 40 percent, and the number of white drivers dropped by 30 percent. It's no secret that police across the country, including Virginia, have work to do to increase public trust - HB79, HB122, and HB759 don't help. They damage trust and public relationships, and they are both ineffective and inefficient: As one example, "analysis of arrest data found that weapons were discovered in about 7 percent of traffic stops in Petersburg from 2018 to 2020." [NBC News, "Police face a 'crisis of trust' with Black motorists. One state's surprising policy may help."]. See also this study, an analysis of over 24 million traffic stops in North Carolina from 2002 to 2020. It found that the encounters led to arrests about 2% of the time. Searches also rarely occurred, and when they did, weapons were discovered in one-tenth of 1% of incidents. Black people were the subjects of nearly half the stops, even though they are only 21% of the state’s population: https://fbaum.unc.edu/books/SuspectCitizens/SuspectCitizens-updated-tables-and-figures-2002to2020.pdf There simply isn't data that shows these bills will prevent crime - worse, they continue to erode public trust in police, reducing public safety.
I strongly oppose the following bill(s): HB79, HB122, HB759 that's being considered for the simple fact that these bills are racist and only target individuals within the black and brown-skinned communities. Data already shows racial disparities in traffic stops are decreasing due to key legislation that was passed in last year's General Assembly. For this legislation to want to intentionally undo that work is sad and sickening. I hope that today you will not allow these bills to pass this legislation and that this committee would help to protect the constitutional rights regardless of race that is to be freely given in this country. Black drivers are stopped disproportionately more than white drivers compared to the local population and are at least twice as likely to be searched, but they were slightly less likely to get a ticket. Help remove the idea that black drivers are stopped on the pretext of having done something wrong. Stop the stigma that exists--such as "driving while black!" and the racial disparity that occurs when traffic stops happen to blacks. Say no on bills HB79, HB122, and HB759.
Not only is it minorities but also whites who seek justice for themselves as well as minorities. Originally from NC I moved to VA to finish a master degree at Regent University. Because of substance abuse and drug addiction off and on over the past 20 yrs, I have experience in both the criminal justice system and in areas of poor minority housing areas. What better way to show society I have been rehabilitated than stay sober and finish a master's degree I started in 2013. I also got involved with local African American pastors to try n change lives through love n hope. Not so fast . Instead only months after getting that masters degree and getting my NC k-12 teaching license reactivatd I was charged with 8 felonies for supposedly forging to checks from an elderly lady whom I was hired to give her dog diabetic shots twice a day everyday. I voluntary went to the investigating detective and gave an honest statement. A statement she supposedly " forgot to hit the record button on" . Add 8000 in attorneys fees and wat did I get. He's just a junkie who took advantage of an old lady. No showing my reformation. Instead 8 felonies with 5 years each felony all ran consecutive. 40 yrs 39 suspended. First felonies ever. No more school teacher possibilities or being a church worker+ masters in theology. All because I had a passionate voice for justice in a white privilege society while I myself lived in Newport news. And now I n my daughter ( who just got a BSN in nursing worries daily dad will have to do 39 yrs if he misses a po appt or has a relapse and gets a negative drug screen. (Especially in lieu he was victim of sexual assault by a retired naval officer which no one ever believe) The commonwealth is most oppressing state I have ever been in and having played div. one baseball in the early nineties I have been around the country. I gave since gotten more involved SO PLEASE DONT STOP THE MOMENTUM THAT THE COMMONWEALTH HAS MADE THE OAST 4 YEARS. VY PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND TO THE REALITY IF SOME LAWS N POLICE BEHAVIOR. ALL BECAUSE THEY ABD THIER FAMILIES GREW UP PRIVILEGED. I AM UNIQUE IN THAT I AM EDUCATED BUT ALSO A ADDICT WHO GAS LUVED IN THAT WIRKD. A WORLD WGEN RECENT THE COMMONWEALTH JUST SAW MY OAST RECORD, REFUSED TO SEE MY SIVRYN ACCOMPLISHED THE LAST 5 YEARS AND DIDN'T EVEN CONSIDER REHAB ( THAT BASED ON THIER ARGUMENT IFME BEING AN ADDICT. NO KETS JUST THROW HIM IN A 6 × 9 FIR ONE YEAR N HE WILL THINK TWICE BEFORE HE USES AGAIN. HIW F ARCHAIC IS THAT THOUGHT PROCESS. WE AS FIRMER ADDICTS AND CRIMINALS ( 99% DUE TO DRUG USE) ARE WILLING TO ADMIT OUR MISTAKES REPAY SOCIETY N MOVE FORWARD BUT UNFORTUNATELY THIS REVERSAL IN LEGISLATION WILL ONLY ADD TO TGE ONCE ANE POSSIBLE SOON TO BE OPPRESSIVE COMMONWEALTH FOR THE POOR UNEDUCATED N THISE WHI STRUGGLE WITH ADDICTION. IN CLOSING I LIVE IN A CONSERVATIVE COUNT N CITY NOW BUT THEY SEEM TO GET UT. NOT LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER PRODOMIATELY WHITE COMMUNITY. I AM ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES W ADDICTION N THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM KEEP TGE MOMENTUM GOING FOR CGANGE HOPE N REHABILITATION. NOT INCARCERATION. SOMETHING WE WOULD NOT EVEN DO TO STRAY ANIMALS