Councilman Jawando Alleges ‘Racial Profiling’ By State Police After Traffic Stop

Councilmember Will Jawando was stopped by a Maryland State Police trooper on Saturday, just days after he hosted a community forum on policing.

The trooper asked whether he owned the car or whether he had any outstanding warrants.

“I kinda knew then that this was a pretext stop is when a police officer stops someone for a supposed minor traffic infraction, to try to search for a deeper crime,” Jawando said.

In a tweet posted Monday, Jawando said he was thankful for years of “training” in learning to defuse similar situations, but worries that law enforcement continuing these traffic stops could put the community at risk.

“These stops are used disproportionately against African Americans and people of color and are ripe for racial profiling,” Jawando wrote. “I couldn’t stop thinking about what happens to the young man or woman who’s not a lawyer or a county councilman and hasn’t honed their training on how to survive a stop.”

Here’s our interview:

Here’s the tweet where Jawando first described the stop:

State Police spokesman Greg Shipley issued this statement:

Shortly before 7:00 a.m. Saturday, Trooper Shu of the Rockville Barrack was in his marked patrol car stopped at a red light on MD 650 at Cresthaven Drive.  Trooper Shu saw a vehicle pass his car, cross the stop line and enter the intersection before stopping.  He initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver, requesting his license and registration.

The driver, Mr. Jawando, explained he had lost his current driver’s license and had requested a duplicate.  He gave the trooper his expired driver’s license.  While he was looking for his registration card, Trooper Shu asked Mr. Jawando if that was his vehicle.  Trooper Shu asks this question regularly during traffic stops to help him determine if the person has a right to use the vehicle.   During their conversation, Mr. Jawando told the trooper he was a Montgomery County councilman.

Trooper Shu returned to his patrol car and checked Motor Vehicle Administration records to ensure the driver’s license was valid.  He returned the documents to the driver and issued him a warning for the intersection violation.

The trooper initiated the traffic stop simply because of the violation he observed.  This was not a pretextual stop.  The vehicle had passed and stopped in front of him.  He did not know the race or sex of the driver before stopping the vehicle.  Troopers on patrol are directed to locate those who violate traffic and criminal laws in order to promote safe driving, prevent crashes, save lives and apprehend criminals.

The Maryland State Police strictly forbids bias-based policing in all aspects of its law enforcement activities.  Stopping a vehicle based solely on the race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or religion is strictly prohibited.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


4 Responses to “Councilman Jawando Alleges ‘Racial Profiling’ By State Police After Traffic Stop”

  1. Avatar
    On June 11, 2019 at 10:19 am responded with... #

    Same cop pulled us over on 270… my wife was driving. No ticket, just a bunch of questions. My wife is black and im white. Coincidently i havent been pulled over since 1996 . Maybe Im the best driver in the world… NOT

  2. Avatar
    On June 11, 2019 at 11:10 am responded with... #

    Hard to say but I see many traffic violations around police cars and very few of any the police stop the violator. Maybe they were just not looking.

    The police stop you and I’m sure run your plates before getting out of the patrol car so shouldn’t they already know who the vehicle is registered to, if insurance is active and most of the other things they ask?

  3. Avatar
    On June 11, 2019 at 11:49 am responded with... #

    Hahaaaaa…. Is that you officer Wu? There are other details I left out to keep it brief… I have driven many times for weeks on expired tags and had cops (MC and MD state) behind me and not pull me over. Its real life stuff. Coincidences cease to be coincidences when tested over my 30 yrs living in MC… many other stories involving friends, roomates, etc over that span… i could drive naked in my truck with my feet out window and not get pulled over… great for me but not so much for brown people… im not some activist, just a dopey white guy with true experiences

  4. Avatar
    On June 11, 2019 at 3:32 pm responded with... #

    Who carries around an expired drivers license?
    Why did he pass a cop into the intersection?
    Oh, it is because of his race! Right!

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