School Official Berates Cop, Calls Chief 'Skinhead' During Traffic Stop

By Bill Galluccio

May 16, 2018

Residents are demanding that a New Jersey board of education member resign after video captured her berating a cop who pulled had her over for speeding. In the dashcam video, Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, who is a member of the South Orange and Maplewood Board of Education, initially apologized for speeding but tries to use her prominent role in the community to convince the officer to let her off with a warning. 

"My name is Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, I’m on the school board, I’m a community member of this town. I’m sorry if I was speeding."

She asked the officer if her daughter could exit the vehicle and walk to school, a request the officer granted. 

She then asked Officer Shaun Horst if he is from Maplewood or South Orange and he tells her he is from South Orange. She told him that she will call "Sheena right now,” referring to South Orange Village President Sheena Collum according to NBC New York

When the officer asked Lawson-Muhammad for her drivers license and insurance information, she provided an expired insurance card and could not find her license. The officer returned to his vehicle and when he returned to issue her a ticket, she was crying. She told him that she is "scared of cops, because you guys hurt black people.”

He explained that he is writing her a ticket for speeding and another for not having a valid insurance card. He told her that she can go court to prove she had valid insurance on the date and time she was stopped. 

“Now you want me to go to court? I don’t want to go to court. I have insurance,” Lawson-Muhammad told Horst before offering to have her husband text him a photo of the current insurance card. Horst tells her that he cannot void a summons once it has been written. She tells him that she will "call Sheena, and your skinhead cop chief, too."

After the video went viral, a local parents group, the SOMA Black Parents Workshop, called on Lawson-Muhammad to resign from the board of education. The group said that she “attempted to exercise her civic privilege." They demanded that she issue an apology to Officer Horst adding that “under no circumstances is this behavior, from a public servant no less, is acceptable."

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