Willert Waller was driving home from work late at night when a Menlo Park police officer stopped him for an expired registration tag. But Waller’s license had been suspended years back, because of an unpaid traffic ticket and unpaid child support.
Driving with a revoked license is a misdemeanor in California, and that night, the officer ordered Waller’s 2007 blue Cadillac towed and held for 30 days at an impound lot. As it turned out, the car was held for 16 days.
Waller, who is African-American, believes he was stopped in part because of his race, and that the officer searched him and his vehicle without probable cause.
“I felt like he was pushing me,” says Waller. “With all these officer-involved shootings and killings, I know right from wrong.”
Logs from the Menlo Park Police Department confirm the impound of Waller's vehicle. Police data also show that seven out of 10 drivers cited for a suspended license over a four-month time period were Latino or African-American.