NAACP issues warning for black people traveling to Missouri

By Ray Downs  |  Aug. 2, 2017 at 10:23 PM
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Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The NAACP issued a national advisory warning black people about traveling in Missouri, marking the first time the organization has specified a single state as a hostile environment due to racism.

The Missouri chapter of the NAACP had previously put out a warning for the state in June, after Missouri lawmakers passed Senate Bill 43, which made it more difficult for people to sue businesses for race discrimination. The national organization adopted and issued the advisory Monday.

"The advisory means each individual should pay special attention while in the state of Missouri and certainly if contemplating spending time in Missouri," the group said in its original June statement. "Unlike seasonal weather advisories, where no unnecessary travel on city streets or parking might be directed, the NAACP wants to make Missourians and our visitors aware of looming danger which could include the following by example of what has happened to some residents and visitors."

In addition to SB 43, the Missouri NAACP pointed to other examples of allegedly racist attacks on black people, including the case of Tory Sanford, a 28-year-old man who died in a Mississippi County jail cell in southeast Missouri hours after his arrest for making a wrong turn. The sheriff at the time, Cory Hutcheson, faced multiple charges of assault and robbery and was accused of foul play in Sanford's death.

"How do you come to Missouri, run out of gas and find yourself dead in a jail cell when you haven't broken any laws?" asked Rod Chapel, the president of the Missouri NAACP, reported the Kansas City Star. "You have violations of civil rights that are happening to people. They're being pulled over because of their skin color, they're being beaten up or killed. We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven't heard before."

The NAACP travel advisory also warns black drivers that they are 75 percent more likely to be stopped compared to white drivers.

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