In Brief

#CrimingWhileWhite: why white tweeters are confessing crimes

Grand jury decision to clear white NYPD officer for killing black man prompts wave of confessions

White people are taking to Twitter to confess crimes they have got away with after a US grand jury cleared a white NYPD officer for choking an unarmed black man to death.

Eric Garner was allegedly caught selling untaxed cigarettes and died after being placed in a banned chokehold by white police officer Daniel Pantaleo in July.

Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict Pantaleo this week sparked protests on the streets of New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Ferguson, Missouri, where a grand jury last week cleared white police officer Darren Wilson for killing black teenager Michael Brown.

The outrage spread to Twitter, where white men and women used the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite to highlight the difference between their experiences with the police and the experiences of Garner and other black people.

At 13 I stole a car with my friends & drove it 2wks before we got busted. Only one charged was black. #CrimingWhileWhite

— Cecily Kellogg (@Cecilyk) December 4, 2014

Exhaled blunt smoke in a cop's face as I opened my door and then told him he couldn't come in without a warrant. He left. #CrimingWhileWhite

— Classic (@classicmaterial) December 3, 2014

Pulled over with gf. Both had been drinking at club. Gave us a ticket & sent us on our way. #CrimingWhileWhite

— Meranda (@HoneyWooWoo) December 4, 2014

White BF told cop who stopped him for speeding to "f**k off." Let go with a warning and a "good night." #crimingwhilewhite

— Anne B (@abroshar) December 3, 2014

I would have a story for #CrimingWhileWhite but I only seem to get stopped by police while I'm with my Black friends. Oh, wait...

— Kno (@Kno) December 3, 2014

In high school I got in a 3 car wreck that might have been my fault. The cop told me it was the "illegal alien's" fault. #CrimingWhileWhite

— Elizabeth (@oceana_roll) December 3, 2014

#WhitePrivilege is confessing criminality on the #CrimingWhileWhite hashtag without fear of reprisal (social or criminal). Let that sink in.

— Robert Mitchell (@RLM_3) December 4, 2014

Quartz says that while it's hard to verify the truth or race of the tweeters, the confessions are "plausible" given that statistics show black people are more likely to be stopped by police than white. Last year, police in Ferguson stopped 4,632 black drivers, seven times the 686 white drivers stopped.

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