National Geographic : 2018 Apr
ROBERT F. SMITH South Monaco Parkway, Denver, Colorado (1979) Smith, a multibillionaire software investor, says he was 17 the first time he was stopped by police. Since then, it’s happened repeatedly. Once, an officer crossed the median of a four-lane highway and pulled him over because Smith’s new car had a temporary, and legal, rear license plate instead of permanent plates on both the front and rear. Another time, while he was driving a sports car at six a.m., en route to a gym, Smith was stopped and unfairly cited for driving through a school crossing light. Smith timed and recorded the flashing light prior to his day in court. “I drive that route every day to drop my children off, so I know when school starts and I know when the flashing light starts,” he said. “Here you are, a middle-aged, African-American male, driving a nice car, not doing anything wrong, yet you are followed. You know they are pulling your plates.” GARRETT SMITH AND ROSIE VILLEGAS-SMITH Interstate 17, Exit 229, and West Anthem Way, Anthem, Arizona (2009) The Smiths were pulled over by a Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff’s deputy who said they were going five miles an hour over the speed limit. They suspect they were stopped because everyone in the car except Garrett was of Mexican descent.