Video game to teach lessons about racial profiling

Officer Martinez drives down a quiet suburban street and parks her car in front of three young African-American men playing basketball. She is responding to a suspicious persons report.

“Hey, what’s up?” Martinez inquires.

“Nothing,” responds Paul, one of |the men.

“What are you doing here?” she asks.

The situation quickly turns ugly.

“The hell you think we’re doing?” Gamal yells. “We’re obviously robbing all these houses and impregnating all their daughters.”

“I got a suspicious persons report,” Martinez says forcefully as she puts her hand on her pepper spray. “If I don’t get good answers, I’ll arrest you for loitering and figure out who you are later.”

Paul remains indignant.

“At law school my first year, I learned something. It’s not illegal to be black anymore,” he says, his voice rising |in anger.

Martinez takes a defensive position and pulls out the spray. “On the ground – now,” she barks.

The director calls cut.

Officer Martinez is really Sundae Van Allen, an actress, and Paul is actor Gordon Timothy. They are filming a new computer video game on a side street of Hammonton that is designed to help New Jersey state troopers understand – and counteract – any tendency toward racial profiling.

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