Neighbors call police on 'suspicious' black man reading book

He sat in his car for about two hours reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Dauphin also brought a book by theologian Timothy Keller to Stonehaven Wharf, a fishing spot frequented by tourists.

He was pulled over by Royal Canadian Mounted Police as he was driving home after they received calls about a “suspicious black man in a white car,” according to his Instagram post.

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Before any more Canadians get too comfortable on their high horses, let me share with you what happened to me about an hour ago. This week has not been easy for me. Amidst a number of personal and professional struggles, my mind has been occupied with the latest string of black males killed by the police over the last few days. So, instead of stewing in my apartment, I decided to take a drive to the Stonehaven Wharf and sit by the water on this cold, rainy July day and try to pacify my mind by reading the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis. After a couple hours by the ocean, quietly reading in my car, I begin the drive back to my apartment. I'm 20 minutes in to my drive back home and I notice an RCMP cruiser speed by me, travelling in the opposite direction. 10 minutes later, I notice the same cruiser approaching from behind at a high rate of speed. Naturally, I check my speedometer and I'm travelling at 87km/h in a 100km/h zone, following the car in front of me (the speed at which people drive out here is another story). Since I'm travelling so slowly I don't think anything of the cruiser behind me until he hit his lights. I pull over and wait for him to approach. Thankfully, he is kind and respectful and asks me the usual questions; where I'm from and where I'm going. He then proceeds to ask me if I was in Janeville earlier this evening. I tell him that I was at the Stonehaven Wharf reading a book pointing to the two books in the passenger seat. He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, "Really? I was just reading a book." He smiles, shrugs and replies, "Well, you know, it's a small town." and proceeds to ask me for my license. He verifies my information and sends me on my way. So, a black male, sitting in his car, reading a book is suspicious activity. Good to know. At this rate, I may never leave my home again. #DangerousNegro

A photo posted by Louizandre Dauphin (@veraxial) on

Dauphin noted that the officer was kind and respectful throughout the stop. After verifying Dauphin’s information, the officer sent him on his way, according to Dauphin’s post.

“There was no arrest and no charge in that incident,” Constable Derek Black, media relations officer for the RCMP in New Brunswick province, told The Washington Post. “We received a report of a suspicious vehicle. We stopped the vehicle, spoke with the driver and the report was unfounded.”

Since his post gained attention, Dauphin wanted to make sure that the point was not the interaction with officer, but that police were called in the first place.

“I do not know the true motivations behind the individual who called the police to report my presence at the Stonehaven Wharf, but I struggle to understand why my actions of driving my vehicle to a public space, reading a book, and never once exiting my vehicle was cause for a level of suspicion which prompted this individual to call the police. Be it my vehicle (a white Volkswagen Golf) or the colour of my skin, which I believe was a contributing factor, there was something that prompted an individual to consider my presence threatening enough to warrant attention by the police. If all are truly welcome at this location, why would a person acting in a non-threatening manner have the police called on them? And, after such an incident, why would this person feel any motivation or desire to return to that location? I never once identified this person who called the police as racist, but I do suspect there is some degree of bias, fear, and ignorance-based suspicion which lead to the reality that the police were alerted to my presence at the wharf.”

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