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How Did a Black Man Get Arrested During A BMW Test Drive?

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Two steps forward, one step back! Just as soon as we think we are moving closer to equality and a color-blind society, we are hit with reports such as this one.

Jon-Christopher Sowells, who is pictured above, thought nothing of a simple test drive he decided to take a his local BMW dealership. It soon became a drive he would never forget!

The unthinkable to place in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Sowells decided it would be a good day to shop for a new BMW. After perusing the dealership he found interest in a particular model and took the necessary steps to begin a test drive. He was certainly not expecting the disturbing details of what happened next. The local police pulled him over and placed him in hand cuffs for obstruction of justice.

It all began when Sowells drove the BMW out of the Philips Motors dealership in Snellville for a test run. Being a trusted customer he was allowed to take the car for a run on his own. He was stopped by a police officer only moments after driving onto a highway. According to Sowells’s report, the officer told him that he was being stopped because he didn’t have any tags on the car. Now I might be mistaken but do dealership cars not have to the name of the dealership and all the other information printed on the window. I would assume that this was be a signal to the officer that the car was simply being tested out. But seeming how this was not that obvious to this particular officer, Sowells went on to explain the circumstances of him driving the car to the officer.

Sowells said, “No problem. I don’t have any tags on this car because it’s not my car,” He went on to explain to the officer. “The dealer is right there. We can get it all clarified.”

Apparently, when Sowells asked the officers to repeatedly call and confirm his test drive with the dealership, and they allegedly refused to take the necessary steps to clear up the confusion. Sowells said the officers asked to view a document that was laying across the vehicle’s back seat, but because he was unsure of what they were or who they belonged to, he refused.

This coincidentally didn’t sit well the two officers on the scene.

Sowells claims the officers then resorted to using ‘bully tactics’. “They asked me to get out of the car. I said ‘I don’t feel comfortable.’ They then continued to open up the car door and dragged him out of the door by his left arm.

Officers even decided to called for backup, yet they couldn’t contact the BMW dealership to clear up the situation.

The police report explains how Sowells tried pulling away from the policemen. It was not until they pulled out their tasers that Sowells co-operated and was arrested on the spot.

Sowells claims that he was angered by the arrest because “they’re treating me like I’m a criminal and I hadn’t done anything.”

The Snellville police department released a statement regarding the incident:

The officer observed a paper on the rear seat that appeared to be of the type dealers use when placing a vehicle for sale. He asked if he could retrieve it and Mr. Sowells refused. Based on his refusal to provide information and his passive and then active resistance, Mr. Sowells was charged with obstruction.

Police officials also claimed that when the dealership was contacted, no one answered the call. Sowells and the officer drove to the dealership following his arrest and here is how he described what happened. “The dealer comes out to pick the car up and at this point I’m thinking we can all go home, and everything is OK now. No, it’s not OK. I’m going to jail.”

The Georgia man, who has never been arrested, plans on fighting his case.

But Sowells definitely showed those officers why they shouldn’t stereotype when he went back and still purchased the brand new BMW!

Sommer Payne

29 Comment

  1. What did the bmw dealership say when the cops brought him back to the dealership in handcuffs?

    • the police didn't ask them anything except for my rental car keys so he could move my rental to the back of the lot since i was going to jail. Madness

    • I'm so very sorry this happened to you. I pray that you are compensated for this. In my humble opinion, you were correct not to give up property (the documents in the back) that did not belong to you. If it was a company and they asked you for documents on your desk, you would not be required to give them up due to privacy laws. The same may apply here as you were unaware if personal information was within the documentation. In addition, how could you be obstructing a crime when none was committed. I am confident your attorney will have a field day with this! Good Luck!

    • I'm sorry this happened to you. Racial profiling is a major issue, and I hope you sue the evil put those folks.

    • That is sad, and to be honest, I wouldn't have bought the BMW from them, I would have took my business to another dealer…..Not all of us are criminals, if you work for it, then you should be able to spend it how you want…..Snellville is as bad as Hall Co, smdh sorry you had to endure this mess, but as I have read some of the comments, we have got to take a stand, and put a spot to being singled out as if we don't have rights to buy, and live like white folks!

    • Sorry you had to go through that…the 6 mos I lived in ga I was stopped 3 different times in 3 different areas for simply DWB…and even got to spend the night in henry co jail for expired insurance, which i didn't know was the case because my wife at the time wasn't keeping up the bills. Even after I explained to that cop the situation and that in 5 mins time I could have my insurance squared away, he didn't care…so away I went. I hope you get some monetary justice for your troubles with them devils

    • Mr Sowell, you are just a continuation of this country's racist treatment of Blacks. I'm from Northern CA and this type of thing happens here too. A friend of mine was a United State Attorney here. One day, he was driving his new Mercedes with his two young sons in the car when he was stopped by a sheriff. The sheriff wanted to know who owned the car. There was no traffic infraction and there were no reports of any Mercedes being stolen nearby. The officer got really aggressive until my friend identified himself as an attorney and he changed his tone. You don't have to imagine now that this happens alot. It's called Driving While Black. Unfortunately, I don't see things changing for the better. The officers will be supported by their superiors and the larger White communities. When I talk to some Whites about racism, they seem uninterested because they believe our claims are over-exaggerated. They don't want to walk a mile in our shoes.

    • Thats insane. Dont let it go. Fight it and make it public. All police not like that, but those clowns give em a bad name. Jus like all Blacks are not drug dealers… only a few make it bad for the rest.

    • Jon-Christopher Sowells I'm so glad you're on here responding… can I add you as a friend? I'd like to see this through with you and hopefully offer suggestion, and get some myself.

    • Why didn't you just let them see the paperwork on the backseat? What was the big deal if you knew what it was or not? If you saw that they weren't calling the dealership then maybe they didn't think they needed to call right then because they saw what appeared to be the paperwork that should have been on the window but was lying on the seat. I think you brought the "uncomfortable situation" on yourself by not allowing them to see the paperwork. What harm would it have done? They just wanted to look at it. Why didn't you remain cool in the situation? Black men have been told for years that if you are ever pulled over, remain calm. In the grand scheme of things, I hope you have this arrest removed from your record. Good luck.

  2. It's plain to see this is a racist act this is why the black community don't friend police nexus they fake ass hell Bellaire can't be trusted hating ass cops.

  3. I am sick and tried of these type stories, I people, especially black should start making their voice heard. Police Officer and I use that title loosely, should be investigated. Are we back in the40's and 50's were your only reason to be harassed by the police is the color of your skin. Seriously, young black men and women are being murder because of the color of their skin. I think there should be some civil disobedience and Protest Marches. We are American Citizens and we have rights.

  4. The pigs would have never did that2 a white man………Nothing has changed…Justice isn't blind that bitch is DEAD!

  5. Makes me wonder why all you Africans are still doing there, I mean its not like you are in paradise!

    • It doesn't matter where u live! It happens to are People every where

    • Just exactly where are they supposed to go? And why are you calling them Africans? They are Americans and they have every right to be here and to be treated like full citizens.

  6. @sommerpayne, please use spellcheck, or have someone proof read this before you submit it as a literary piece for all of us to read, it is annoying to say the least- don't want to be harsh, but if you are going to post stories for print, this is 101. I found way too many mistakes on here.

    • yo bro im interested in how u grindn so sell me the steak nd not the sizzle lol

    • ????

    • It's not that serious. They were trying to deliver a message, and this is why people don't pay attention to the right things because they are too busy paying attention to the wrong things.

    • Melanie Rucker; but do we deserve lower quality, just because it's a black news source? This publication needs to be held to higher standards just like any other.

    • Jason, my parents always told me not to throw stones when you live in glass houses. Did you proof-read your submission? Were you communicating through twitter or was your lack of sentence completion intentional? Your style is common, to say the least.

    • Mr. Parker, I'm sure you won't mind a bit of clarification here. This is a journalistic piece, not a literary one. However, the typos and other mistakes which you have so kindly pointed out do not deter from the message that has been driven home.

  7. It is remarkable that this was allowed to happen. Please sue them.

  8. Here's the problem in a nutshell! Police officers in the Good Ole boy U.S. of A. are considered precious commodities of the so called "White Society" (which all groups of color are allowed to joined with sufficient cache and subservience to the system). Therefore all Cops are given a pass on perjury on police reports on the common man! A Cop that perjures himself on a police report knows there will be no, nada, zilch, zero repercussions. Therefore you are at his or her mercy!

  9. There are morons in every profession. Pray for the idiots, God will do the rest.

  10. Great blog here! Additionally your website a lot up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I want my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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