Volume 13

Qualified Immunity and the Colorblindness Fallacy: Why “Black Lives [Don’t] Matter” to the Country’s High Court

by Katherine Enright & Amanda Geary

On a November day in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dethorne Graham felt the onset of an insulin reaction. Mr. Graham, an individual with diabetes, asked his friend, William Berry, to drive him to a convenience store to “purchase some orange juice to counteract the reaction.” When he arrived at the store, Mr. Graham “saw a number of people ahead of him in the check-out line.” Anxious about his deteriorating condition, Mr. Graham “hurried out of the store,” and asked Mr. Berry to drive him to a friend’s house instead. Meanwhile, Officer M.S. Connor with the Charlotte Police Department was watching Mr. Graham as he entered the store and “hastily” left without purchasing anything. Officer Connor found Mr. Graham’s conduct “suspicious” and followed his vehicle as it left the parking lot. A half mile from the convenience store, Officer Connor activated his patrol lights and initiated a traffic stop.


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